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On Friday, LeBron James announced his decision to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers on SI.com after leaving for Miami four years ago. A few hours later, Chris Bosh spurned the Houston Rockets and re-signed with the HEAT on a max contract worth $118 million. Dwyane Wade will reportedly re-sign with Miami as well, but has yet to do so officially, and is reportedly being pursued by the Chicago Bulls.
With the situation in Miami nearly finalized, the attention shifts to free agent Carmelo Anthony, who is reportedly choosing between two teams: the Chicago Bulls and incumbent New York Knicks. ‘Melo was previously considering the Los Angeles Lakers, though they are now out of the running for the high scoring forward. It was believed that ‘Melo would announce a final decision as early as Monday this week, but has made no announcement as of Saturday.
Knicks president Phil Jackson has made some encouraging moves in his short time in New York, which is reason for ‘Melo to stay with the team he forced his way to years ago. New York can also offer ‘Melo more money than Chicago, especially if the Bulls don’t clear more salary cap space. However, the Bulls offer a more competitive roster (contingent on Derrick Rose being healthy), which, as of now, can better compete with James’ Cavaliers and the rest of the Eastern Conference.
With the floodgates of free agency now open and moves being made across the league, expect a final decision from ‘Melo soon.
Before LeBron made his return to Cleveland official, it was reported that his decision would be contingent on the Cavaliers having a deal in place to acquire Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Now that LeBron’s return is official, there are conflicting reports as to whether number one overall pick Andrew Wiggins will be made available in a deal for Love.
Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports, Brian Windhorst of ESPN and Chris Broussard of ESPN report that Wiggins will not be traded. However, Ken Berger of CBS tweeted that multiple executives around the league believe that Wiggins will “be in play” for Love.
It’s not hard to understand why the Cavaliers would be reluctant to part with Wiggins, who has the physical tools and skills to become an elite wing-player. However, with LeBron back in town, the Cavaliers need to compete for championships now, and adding Love would go a long way toward achieving that. One issue surrounding Love is that he will be an unrestricted free agent next offseason, which makes him a risky acquisition. However, Marc Stein of ESPN reports that Love is “intrigued” by the Cavaliers and would commit long-term if acquired.
The Cavaliers have other young talent to trade, including Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett and Tristan Thompson. But with other teams in the mix for Love, including the Golden State Warriors, it would likely take Wiggins to pry the big man out of Minnesota.
Wiggins played in his first Summer League game on Friday against second overall pick Jabari Parker and the Milwaukee Bucks. He scored 18 points, in roughly 31 minutes of action.
Longtime Laker Pau Gasol is reportedly finalizing an agreement to join Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah in Chicago after turning down a two-year deal worth over $10 million per season from the Lakers.
Gasol had also been linked to the Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks, San Antonio Spurs and Atlanta Hawks. However, Gasol has reportedly chosen to join the Bulls, who can offer a competitive contract and the opportunity to contend for a championship. According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, Chicago was in a two-way competition with the Spurs to acquire Gasol.
The Bulls are currently waiting on Carmelo Anthony to make a final decision between Chicago and New York, but had Gasol right behind Anthony on their offseason priority list, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.
As of early Saturday morning, the final contract numbers for Gasol have not been finalized.
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