Heat free agency update: LeBron to meet with Riley; Rockets go hard after Chris Bosh
Miami is a free agent circus — not just some clowns and an elephant, more like an ensemble number from The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil. You can’t take it all in, it’s overwhelming and at times just ridiculous.
Using both personal sources and other reports, here are where things stand heading into Monday with the biggest free agent story of the summer — the goal here is to avoid speculation or gut feelings and just lay out the facts as I understand them.
• LeBron James and his camp are not talking, according to league sources speaking to ProBasketballTalk. Everything people are saying about what LeBron is thinking is not coming from his real inner circle — they learned their lesson back in 2010 and are talking less than a Navy Seal team about to head out on a mission.
• LeBron is going to meet this week with Pat Riley to get an update on plans to fill out the Heat’s roster and discuss LeBron’s plans, something first reported by Sam Amick at the USA Today (and since confirmed by other reports).
Riley has had meetings with multiple available free agents — Luol Deng, Pau Gasol, Isaiah Thomas, Anthony Morrow, Martell Webster and others. However, until he has a firm salary number from “the big three” Riley cannot have firm numbers to give free agents.
• LeBron’s agent has taken meetings with a number of teams including the Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and others. Those were not meetings involving LeBron himself and participants said they were preliminary in nature.
The Cavaliers and other teams are working to clear cap space in event LeBron does decide to come.
• LeBron’s radio silence has made it uncomfortable for Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, who are considering their options… well, mostly Bosh because he has other good options. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports laid this out.
Around Bosh/Wade, there's uneasiness about James' intent; uncertainty. No one's sure -- yet. Heat aren't done, but empire's teetering.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 7, 2014
The Houston Rockets have ramped up their pursuit of Chris Bosh and are, in the words on one source, “heavily engaged” in trying to convince the All-Star power forward to leave the Miami Heat in free agency…
It is widely assumed throughout the league that Bosh will only be willing to leave Miami if James leaves first, after Bosh said numerous times during the season that he intended to stay with the Heat, even if it required taking a pay cut from last season’s $19 million salary. So Miami remains the favorite to sign him.
Frankly, I think Bosh is a better fit for the Rockets than Anthony.
• Bosh has said on multiple occasions he is very happy in Miami and doesn’t want to leave, but that was always under the assumption that LeBron James would stay. Bosh was the most vocal of the big three about the group staying together.
• It is assumed Wade will remain with Miami regardless of the outcome of anything else.