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While the teams hoping to land LeBron are likely looking at this as a sign of disrespect, really it’s a testament of his loyalty to Miami. HEAT President Pat Riley has been extremely aggressive in looking for the additional help that LeBron asked for after losing to the deeper, more versatile San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals. He’s called every quality option out there, from Kyle Lowry to Luol Deng and Pau Gasol.
For a minute on Tuesday it seemed like his job just got a lot easier, as there was a report that Dwyane Wade was willing to play for $12 millionnext season, while Bosh would sacrifice even more and take $11 million. However, their agent came out and publicly denied that, so Riley still has a lot of work to be done.
LeBron’s insistence to receive a maximum extension is well within his rights and certainly deserved. Despite being the best player in the league for the last several years, he’s yet to be the league’s highest earner. It does make the task of adding a fourth high-impact player to the roster more difficult, though. If guys start to come off of the market and Miami’s potential to seriously improve dwindles, then LeBron may be open to listen to other offers. Teams may be moving on now, but if the potential to land LeBron exists, suitors will find a way to get in the mix.
As Basketball Insiders’ Alex Kennedy reported Tuesday, the Bulls left their meeting with Carmelo Anthony feeling really good about their chances of signing him. If they were able to negotiate a sign-and-trade with the Knicks, it would allow them to come a lot closer to a max offer. Their inability to do so undeniably hurts their chances, though, as they can likely only come in somewhere around the $16 million range. Doing so would also require serious cost cutting and take away from the team’s depth.
Anthony’s tour through free agency takes him to Texas next, where he will meet with the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks before making his final stop in Los Angeles to hear the Lakers’ pitch.
The big news in the first day of free agency was Kyrie Irving’s commitment to a maximum contract extension offer from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Gortat is the first big unrestricted free agent to commit to a deal, though. His agreement with Washington insures that they will remain one of the emerging threats in the Eastern Conference. Gortat was being courted by the Miami HEAT, but never showed any serious interest in leaving Washington, who clearly wanted him back as much as he wanted to stay there.
Gortat’s deal will likely be used as a point of example for other free agent big men like Greg Monroe, Chris Bosh and Pau Gasol, who could very easily justify asking for an even higher per-year rate based off of their productivity in comparison to Gortat’s.
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