|AP Sources: Riley, LeBron meet, no decision yet|
|Wednesday, July 09, 2014 8:00 PM|
LAS VEGAS — Pat Riley made his pitch. And now, LeBron James wants time to think.
The Miami Heat president met with the 4-time NBA MVP on Wednesday afternoon in Las Vegas, two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because neither side publicly disclosed details of the meeting. James, his agent Rich Paul, Riley and Heat executive Andy Elisburg were at the meeting, said one of the people.
According to the person, James has not made a decision and will not make any announcements before today, adding, “He wants to meet with his family.”
So now, Miami waits. So does Cleveland. So, too, does just about the entire NBA — because once James picks the Heat or the Cavaliers, the teams believed to be serious suitors for his services, the domino effect of other free agent moves will surely follow.
The meeting in Las Vegas lasted for more than an hour and took place more than two weeks after James opted out of his contract and elected to become a free agent and the day before free agents may begin signing contracts.
James spent part of his day before the meeting at his annual skills academy with some of the nation’s top high school and college players, interacting and observing workouts. That was part of the reason why Riley had to fly across the country to make the meeting happen, with hopes that he would return to Miami from the gambling haven with a huge win — keeping James in Heat colors for at least another season.
Several teams have met with Paul during the free-agent process but it appears James has only one decision to make: Cleveland or Miami, the same choice he pondered four years ago when he decided play with the Heat. With James, the Heat won four Eastern Conference titles and two NBA championships.
The Cavaliers didn’t sit idle waiting for James and Riley to meet.
Cleveland created salary-cap space earlier Wednesday with a 3-team trade with the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets, ensuring they have enough to offer the James a maximum contract.
But James had said he would meet with Riley and the Heat before making his decision.
The meeting came nearly three weeks after Riley addressed reporters following Miami’s loss to San Antonio in the NBA Finals, when he insisted that the Heat needed to make some adjustments to get better — but didn’t need a massive rebuilding job to stay at a championship level.
If James leaves, it’ll be more than a retooling project that awaits Miami.
Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh — the other members of Miami’s “Big 3” of the past four seasons — are also free agents; neither has given any hint as to what they will do, though it’s still expected Wade will not leave the Heat. Miami has just two players under contract for next season, one of those on a partially-guaranteed deal. The Heat have also reached agreements with forwards Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger, as well as the draft rights to guard Shabazz Napier, but there’s still plenty of jobs to be filled.
And the Heat have mostly been in a holding pattern while waiting for James to make his next decision.
The Cavaliers agreed to trade guard Jarrett Jack, swingman Sergey Karasev and center Tyler Zeller, a person familiar with the deals told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because teams are not permitted to discuss trades until the league’s moratorium ends today.
With open roster spots, Cleveland isn’t done.
Not long after making the trade, the Cavs had exploratory discussions with the Minnesota Timberwolves about a possible trade for 3-time All-Star Kevin Love — if James does return to Cleveland, said a person with knowledge of the inquiry.
The Timberwolves would be looking for No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins to be part of any potential package from Cleveland in order to consider parting with Love if the talks were to become more serious, the person added, speaking with the AP on condition of anonymity because neither team publicly announced the conversation.
Whatever the Cavs’ next move is — with or without James — they could package together their other assets, including future first-round picks, to make a run at other All-Star players.
In the three-team trade, Cleveland will receive guard Marcus Thornton from the Nets and send him, Zeller and a future first-round pick to the Celtics. Also, the Cavs are trading Jack and Karasev to the Nets.
Jack, who signed with Cleveland as a free agent last season, was scheduled to make $6.3 million, Zeller will make $1.6 million and Karasev $1.4 million
In trading those salaries, the Cavs have enough to give James a maximum, $20.7 million contract — if he decides to sign with Cleveland. James played his first seven seasons with the Cavs before leaving as a free agent in 2010 and it’s apparent the team is doing everything it can to bring him back.
Under NBA rules, teams must abide by a salary cap set by the league. If the combined salaries of the team’s roster surpasses the cap, teams are forced to a pay additional taxes. The league announced Wednesday that it will increase 7.5 percent to an all-time high of $63.065 million for the 2014-15 season. The tax level — the point at which a team is penalized for exceeding the salary cap — for next season has increased by 7.1 percent to $76.829 million.
ESPN first reported details of the trade.
Park to rename coaster if LeBron goes to Cleveland
SANDUSKY — James has one more offer to consider in deciding where to play next season: Ohio’s Cedar Point amusement park is promising to rename one of its roller coasters “King James” if he returns home to play for the Cavaliers.
A park spokesman says it’s a legitimate offer that originated with the CEO.
Cedar Point sent out a tweet with the proposal on Wednesday, telling James the ball was in his court.
The Sandusky amusement park says James was a frequent visitor during his time growing up in Akron and while playing his first seven seasons for the Cavaliers before he left for Miami.
AP Source: Hornets to sign Hayward to offer sheet
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Hornets are going all out to sign restricted free agent Gordon Hayward.
The Hornets have agreed on a maximum offer sheet with Hayward that would pay the small forward $63 million over the next four years, a person close to with the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The Utah Jazz would have three days to match the deal once Hayward officially signs.
The Charlotte Observer was the first to report the news.
Popovich agrees to extension to stay with Spurs
While the rest of the NBA world waits in limbo for James and Carmelo Anthony to decide where they are going to play next season, the San Antonio Spurs just keep quietly making sure the band is getting back together for a run at a second straight title.
In the middle of the James hysteria on Wednesday, the Spurs issued a 2-sentence press release announcing that coach Gregg Popovich had agreed to a multi-year contract extension. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
After beating the Heat for the franchise’s fifth championship last month, the Spurs quickly found out that Tim Duncan would indeed return next season. Deals with Patty Mills and Boris Diaw ensured that the roster would remain largely intact, so there was little doubt that the 65-year-old Popovich would return for a 19th season on the Spurs’ bench.
That was confirmed on Wednesday in a presentation that was predictably light on fanfare. No comments from Popovich. No statements from GM RC Buford or owner Peter Holt. No big deal, just the way Popovich likes it.
The talk of his pending retirement has grown louder as the years have gone on but Popovich showed no sign of slowing down in season No. 18. He led the Spurs to a league-best 62 wins in the regular season, earned his third coach of the year award and then helped the team recover from the heartbreak of last year’s loss to the Heat in the finals with an emphatic 5-game triumph this season.
Popovich is 1,116-533, including the playoffs, in a career that started in 1996. He is the longest-tenured coach in any of the four major American pro sports and has led the Spurs to at least 50 wins 16 times, including 15 in a row.
Kings sign first-round pick Nik Stauskas
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento Kings have signed first-round pick Nik Stauskas to his rookie contract.
Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro made the announcement late Tuesday night.
Sacramento selected Stauskas out of Michigan with the eighth overall pick in June’s draft. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
AP Sources: Parsons agrees to Mavs’ offer sheet
The Dallas Mavericks have made a move at small forward, agreeing with restricted free agent Chandler Parsons on a 3-year offer sheet worth more than $45 million.
Two people with knowledge of the situation said Wednesday night that Parsons agreed to the offer sheet with the Mavericks, while a third person confirmed the terms.
The Rockets would then have three days to match the offer, though it wasn’t immediately clear if they would do so for the 25-year-old forward who has played for them the past three seasons. Parsons was a second-round pick out of Florida in the 2011 draft.
In Dallas, he would be in a frontcourt with Dirk Nowitzki and recently re-acquired Tyson Chandler.
Bucks sign 1st-round pick F Jabari Parker
MILWAUKEE— The Bucks have signed first-round draft pick Jabari Parker to his rookie contract.
General manager John Hammond announced the signing Wednesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but Parker is guaranteed a minimum of about $8.5 million in the first two years before Milwaukee has team options on his third and fourth seasons.
Parker was the second overall selection in this year’s NBA draft behind Andrew Wiggins.
The drafting of Parker is a critical move for a franchise with new ownership looking to build a new arena.
Raptors sign first-round pick Caboclo of Brazil
TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors have signed first-round draft pick Bruno Caboclo.
Caboclo, an 18-year-old Brazilian forward, is under contract through the 2015-16 season, with two team option years to follow. Financial terms of the deal Wednesday were not disclosed.
The Raptors selected the 6-9, 205-pound Caboclo with the 20th overall pick of the draft.
Sterling says he won’t sell team, calls wife pig
LOS ANGELES — Donald Sterling denounced his wife, her lawyers and the NBA from the witness stand Wednesday, saying he would never sell the Los Angeles Clippers and vowing a lifetime of lawsuits against the league.
“Make no mistake today,” Sterling shouted toward the end of his second day of testimony in the trial to determine his wife’s right to make a $2 billion deal to sell the Clippers, “I will never, ever sell this team and until I die I will be suing the NBA for this terrible violation under antitrust.”
He was followed to the stand by wife Shelly, who tried to approach him in the front row of the courtroom after she was done for the day.
“Get away from me, you pig!” Sterling shouted.
The judge then admonished him to make no further comments.
Donald Sterling’s lawyers are challenging the authority of Shelly Sterling under the family trust to unilaterally cut a deal for the team with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
Before she made the deal, two doctors examined Donald Sterling and declared him mentally incapacitated and unable to act as an administrator of the Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Clippers.
Sterling said he was certain his wife had never read the family trust because it was too complicated for her to understand.
The NBA banned Donald Sterling for life and moved to force him to sell the Clippers after a recorded conversation in which he made racist statements came to light earlier this year.
He was followed to the stand by Shelly Sterling, who said she was a 50-percent beneficiary of the family trust.
Her testimony is scheduled to resume Thursday.
NBA owners are scheduled to vote on the Ballmer deal Tuesday. It’s also the day that Ballmer’s offer is set to expire — and there is no deal without the judge’s approval of the sale.
If the sale isn’t completed by Sept. 15, the league announced it could seize the team and put it up for auction.