NBA Rumors Round-Up

NBA Rumors: “100%” Chance Big Three Return?

Micky Arison is “100%” confident that the Big Three will return to Miami … Rockets owner thinks Clippers players should be allowed to test free agency … Doc Rivers unsure of future with the Clippers

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Arison Confident Big Three Will Stay in Miami

Based on everyone’s comments throughout the season, everything points toward LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh staying in Miami beyond this season. All three are on long-term deals with the freedom to opt out after this year.

The most recent indication that those three will stay, be it through not opting out or by opting out and signing longer contracts, is from owner Micky Arison. When asked Monday by 790 The Ticket to give a percentage chance of keeping them with the Heat, he responded, “100 percent.”

via Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post

James, Wade and Bosh haven’t talked about their potential free agency much throughout this season, but all three can opt out and become unrestricted free agents this summer if they desire. However, Arison seems confident that he’ll be able to keep his superstars in Miami, either by them opting in or signing new long-term contracts with the HEAT.

When asked if retaining all three will be a challenge, Arison said: “I hope it’s not going to be a challenge at all. We’ll see.” If James, Wade and Bosh all opt out and sign new deals, Miami may actually have some salary cap space to work with after inking the Big Three to new deals. This could allow Miami to add a solid role player or two alongside their star-studded trio.

In February, James told NBATV that he couldn’t picture himself leaving Miami. Several months ago, Bosh was asked if he and James would be back in Miami next season, to which he responded, “True.”

The HEAT eliminated the Charlotte Bobcats from the postseason on Monday evening, 4-0. They advanced to the second round, and will take on the winner of the Toronto Raptors – Brooklyn Nets series.

Rockets Owner: Clippers Should Be Allowed to Test Free Agency

“I thought that there’s got to be a way to disrupt him from owning the team,” said [Leslie] Alexander, who after 20 years owning the Rockets is one of the longest tenured owners in the NBA. “I gave him the sword to deal with this. I said, ‘Let the players become free agents.’”

Alexander said the goal of his suggestion was not to break up the Clippers, considered among the league’s top teams, or even to punish Sterling. He said the objective was solely to back Sterling into a corner from which he will choose to sell the Clippers.

“I mentioned that to Adam,” Alexander said. “I told Adam I don’t think he can be removed because the constitution (of the NBA) only allows him to be removed except for gambling. I’m not sure that legally can be done. But if he loses his players, nobody is going to want to go there. He’ll only be able to get a player that is worth $2 million and will play for $12 (million.) And who is going to want to coach there? If you’re a player in the NBA you don’t want to play for somebody like that. If you worked for a company, you would walk away and say, ‘I’m gone.” I think the players should have that right.”

“He listened to it,” Alexander said. “He said he hadn’t heard that before. He said to me, ‘You always give me a novel idea that I haven’t heard before.’ He told me he would look at it and see what the professionals around him think.”

via Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle

This sounds like a crazy idea, but the fact that Adam Silver told Leslie Alexander that he would consider it shows that the NBA is seriously considering all of their options when it comes to punishing Donald Sterling.

It’s unlikely that the Clippers players would ever actually hit the free agent market; if anything, this would be used as a threat to Sterling in order to persuade him to sell the franchise. If the NBA threatens to suspend Sterling indefinitely, fine him millions of dollars, allow his players to test free agency and put other restrictions on him and the team, he may be pushed into selling (which is something that he hasn’t been willing to do in the past).

The NBA will hold a press conference tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET, during which Silver is expected to announce the findings of the Sterling investigation and the punishment that the owner will receive.

Rivers Unsure of Future with Clippers

Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers said Monday he believes owner Donald Sterling made the racial comments attributed to him in a controversy that has drawn worldwide scorn, and he is considering his own future with the franchise.

Rivers, who signed a three-year, $21 million contract last summer to become the Clippers coach and vice president of basketball operations, said he’s unsure whether he’ll return to the team if Sterling remains owner.

“I don’t want to answer that question,” Rivers said. “I don’t know. This just happened.”

via Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports

If Donald Sterling continues to own the franchise, the Clippers could blow up this summer.

Rivers may quit, players may demand to be traded, free agents will shun the organization and picks will be hesitant to work out for them during the pre-draft process. Nobody will want to be associated with the organization if Sterling is still at the helm.

It’s very difficult for the NBA to remove an owner from a team, but if the league doesn’t take Sterling out of Los Angeles, it’s hard to imagine how the team will continue to function and remain competitive.

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