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NBA Rumors: LeBron, HEAT to Meet Soon

The Miami HEAT and LeBron James are set to meet soon… Kobe and Carmelo work out together? Pacers quietly shopping Roy Hibbert?

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LeBron to Meet with Riley

LeBron James and his agent, Rich Paul, plan on meeting with Miami Heat president Pat Riley in person early this week, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the talks.

via Sam Amick of USA Today Sports

Late Sunday, Chris Broussard of ESPN started a wave of speculation by tweeting that he believed the Cleveland Cavaliers were in the lead to sign superstar free agent LeBron James. Other reports followed, suggesting that the big-three in Miami may be heading for a split.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports tweeted late Sunday that Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade are still uncertain as to what James will end up doing and that once James meets with Riley, there may be more certainty as to his next step. Unfortunately for Riley, he has been unable to persuade any significant free agent targets from taking a pay-cut to join the big-three in South Beach. Kyle Lowry agreed to terms with the Toronto Raptors and Marcin Gortat agreed to terms with the Washington Wizards.

Sam Amico of Fox Sports tweeted that James’ agent Rich Paul is impressed with what the Cavaliers have done and can do to improve the roster, bolstering Broussard’s claim that Cleveland may be gaining traction on the hunt for James.

Adding to the uncertainty in Miami are the reports that Houston is targeting Bosh, who is waiting for LeBron to make his intentions clear. Stephen A. Smith of ESPN chimed in on the Bosh angle, saying on SportsCenter that the HEAT will target Carmelo Anthony to join James and Wade in Miami if Bosh commits to the Rockets.

With so many reports being thrown around, it is hard to discern where exactly LeBron stands as of now. Until he meets with Riley, there will continue to be more questions than answers surrounding James and the rest of the free agent market.

Kobe, Carmelo and Love Play Pickup Ball at UCLA?

Yes, and Kevin Love too. RT @MrRamirezToYou: Was kobe and melo there today?

via Josh Rebholz (Twitter)

UCLA Associate Athletic Director Josh Rebholz created some buzz on Sunday, stating that Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love were at UCLA playing pickup basketball. The timing of this is notable considering that ‘Melo had a formal meeting with the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks on Friday.

Sam Amick of USA Today Sports reported that only Kobe was at UCLA on Sunday, and that ‘Melo worked out on the campus earlier in the week. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports reported the same, adding that ‘Melo visited a Bruins assistant coach while there.

Regarding Love, he spent one season at UCLA, and is not a free agent– still under contract for at least one more season with the Minnesota Timberwolves–, so there are less inferences to draw from his participation in pickup games at UCLA. In addition, it was later reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports that ‘Melo and Kobe may have been at UCLA on Sunday, but that Love was not, according to Yahoo sources.

Thus, it seems that Kobe may have been the only one of three at UCLA on Sunday. If ‘Melo did work out with Kobe, it would have given ‘Melo the opportunity to see Kobe play after recovering from an Achilles and knee injury over the last year. ‘Melo is reportedly considering signing with the Lakers, Knicks or Chicago Bulls and is believed to make a final decision by Monday.

Pacers Shopping Hibbert

After a flurry of rumors dating back a little more than a month, there has not been much to speak of when it comes to the possibility of Indiana moving center Roy Hibbert in a trade. But, according to multiple front-office sources, the Pacers have quietly sought out possible new landing spots for their enigmatic big man.

“I would say they’ve been doing that, but quietly,” one front-office source said.

via Sean Deveney of Sportingnews.com

At 7-foot-2, Roy Hibbert is one of the best defensive centers in the NBA, blocking 2.2 shots per game, holding opponents to just 41.4 percent shooting at the rim while defending them on 9.8 attempts per game and finishing second in Defensive Player of the Year voting this last season.

However, despite these impressive defensive numbers, Hibbert struggled in last season’s NBA playoffs, averaging just 9.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game in the playoffs. Teammate David West at one point said “He’s got to be part of the fight. He’s got to be part of this thing for us to go anywhere.”

The Pacers have failed to get past the Miami HEAT in the playoffs two seasons in a row, but that may change next season if LeBron decides to take his talents somewhere other than South Beach. Whether Hibbert is moved or not, it is clear that the Pacers have questions about their center who they signed to a max offer in July 2012.

According to Deveny’s sources, the Pacers would prefer to move Hibbert to the Western Conference. The Portland Trailblazers were interested in Hibbert a few seasons back and extended him a max free agent offer, which Indiana matched. However, the Blazers already have Robin Lopez and Chris Kaman at center, and thus are “unlikely” to make a move for the Indiana big man.

 

Jesse Blancarte is a Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders. He is also an Attorney and a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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