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Tag Archives: Pat Riley
Cleveland Cavaliers – With LeBron James returning home, the Cavs are by far the biggest winners this off- season. James is the best player in the world and he fills a major void at the small forward spot that’s been vacant since well, when he left four years ago. Forget that he signed a 1 year and an option year contract. James did that so he can cash in on the next TV contract by increasing his max contract dollars. He’s not going anywhere, considering how much money he can make, a young talented roster and he and his family are back home. First year G.M. David Griffin also locked up 2-time All-Star Kyrie Irving to a 5-year max contract and thus has his Batman and Robin for years to come.
San Antonio Spurs – After Tim Duncan exercised his player option for $10.3 million to return for at least one more season with the World Champs, the Spurs then went and resigned two of their own free agents in Boris Diaw and Patty Mills to team friendly contracts thanks to Duncan taking less than market value. Plus San Antonio announced that head coach Gregg Popovich agreed to a multi-year contract extension. All four moves are big wins for the Spurs.
Los Angeles Clippers – Doc Rivers added two players that will help the team’s depth and offense and he did so without overpaying for either one. Getting Spencer Hawes, a stretch-5 for less than $6 million per season for four years and point guard Jordan Farmar to replace Darren Collison who left for the Kings at about $2 million per year are very good gets.
Miami Heat – Like the Cavs did in 2010, Pat Riley and the Heat felt LeBron’s return was a slam dunk only to be rejected and left shaking their heads. Again no matter what you do, as the Cavaliers found out, there’s no replacing LeBron James. The Heat overpaid Chris Bosh to stay instead of going to Houston. They’re going to overpay an aging Dwyane Wade and two of their other free agent signees are injuries waiting to happen in Danny Granger and Luol Deng.
Los Angeles Lakers – G.M. Mitch Kupchick was shooting for LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. When LeBron went to Cleveland he was hoping to team up Carmelo with Kobe and Pau Gasol. Then Carmelo agreed to stay with the Knicks and Gasol left for the Bulls. Plus the “Lake Show” lost Jodi Meeks to OKC. This off-season has been one of the worst in Lakers history.
Houston Rockets – While they’ll still be a good team, the Rockets were trying to bolster their roster so they would become an elite team. They targeted Carmelo Anthony first and lost out. Then they set their sights on Chris Bosh and lost him too. Adding insult to injury, one of their fine young players, Chandler Parsons accepted an offer sheet from Dallas and Houston decided not to match it. So the high flying, long distance shooter is now a Mav. They replaced Parsons with Trevor Ariza which isn’t terrible and are said to be interested now in trying to land Kevin Love in a trade, but so far this off season Houston has had a problem getting the players they wanted.
He’s Coming Home! “The King” – LeBron James has decided to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
After meeting with Heat president Pat Riley and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert within the last week, the most sought after NBA free agent this off-season chose going home over staying in South Beach.
He did so in a letter that was published on SI.com today at 12:24pm:
(photo courtesy of David Richard)
Four years ago when he became a free agent, James left Cleveland and took his talents to South Beach, doing it on national TV and ripping the hearts out of Cavs fans. He also upset team owner Dan Gilbert so much that Gilbert responded with a scathing letter to Cavalier fans crushing James for how he handled the decision. So it was very clever that James decided to write a letter of his own to announce his “Decision” this time.
Fast forward four years; forgiveness, along with a younger and better roster and James and Gilbert are reunited again in Cleveland. While they may never have the same relationship they once had, both will be able to tolerate each other for the betterment of the team.
James was asked back in February 2012 if he could ever play for Gilbert again? “Dan is not the coach,” he said. “I can play for any coach.” Well the coach LeBron will be playing for is David Blatt who was hired back on June 20, 2014 by the Cavs.
James spent the first seven years of his career with the Cavs leading them to their only NBA Finals appearance in 2007 where they lost in four games to the San Antonio Spurs.
The last four years of his career were spent in Miami, as James led the Heat to four straight NBA Finals, winning back-to-back titles in 2012-2013. Miami had a chance to “Three-Peat” this year, but fell to the Spurs in five games, leading James to use the opt-out clause in his contract to become an unrestricted free agent and set the stage for this return to Cleveland.
So now LeBron James talents will once again be on display where they started, at “Home”!
As I told talk show host Ken Carmen last night on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland, I can’t figure out what’s taking so long for LeBron James to make this decision. It’s a two horse race. It’s either Cleveland or Miami. What’s the holdup LeBron? You played for both teams, so you know both organizations. You’re a student of the game, so you see the two rosters and understand their cap space availability. So make up your mind already!
It’s being reported that he wanted to talk it over some more with his family. From everything I hear from my sources, they all want him to come back to Cleveland. So what is causing the holdup?
Here are a few reasons, and I know I may be reaching here, but what they heck we have time to kill, as to why maybe LeBron is still undecided, if he really is.
1. Since he’s in Vegas for his skills camp and if he doesn’t know too much about new Cavs head coach David Blatt, might LeBron want to check Blatt out in person on Friday as he coaches the Cavs summer league team in their first game against Milwaukee?
2. Maybe LeBron wants to see Cavs number #1 pick Andrew Wiggins in action going up against the player the Cavaliers passed on in Jabari Parker since the Bucks and Cavs are playing each other to see if he feels new Cavaliers G.M. David Griffin made the right pick.
3. LeBron might also want to get a look at last year’s number #1 overall pick Anthony Bennett to gauge how much he’s improved from his disastrous rookie season, to see if he thinks the kid can play in the NBA.
4. Or “King James” could be waiting on the Cavaliers to swing a deal for Kevin Love, to prove to him that this new regime could follow through on the possible plans they laid out to his agent Rich Paul when the two sides met recently.
5. Is it possible, I guess anything is at this point, that James gave Pat Riley and the Miami Heat once last chance to pull off a major move like maybe bringing Carmelo Anthony to Miami to play with LeBron and D-Wade?
6. How about this one, Nike and the Cavaliers needed more time once they found out where LeBron is going, to get all their TV ads, billboards and other advertising avenues together so they can flood the media market with their new LeBron marketing campaign? And also, maybe LeBron and his team needed more time to get their website ready for the traffic that will be coming their way for when they do make the announcement on his site?
I have no idea if any of these are indeed reasons why LeBron has yet to announce his intentions, but for some reason he hasn’t made the “Decision” public yet, so these were my best guesses. You got anything better?
Everyone else is making their prediction on where “The King” is headed, so I guess it’s time for the “The Great Rodini” to make his prediction on where he thinks LeBron James will be playing basketball next season.
After talking to old and new sources, in bars, stores, at the library, via Twitter, through e-mails and of course using my crystal ball, I have come up with these five predictions about LeBron James.
1. LeBron will choose to sign with Cleveland over Miami because of:
The Cavs younger, deeper roster, led by two-time All-Star Kyrie Irving who just committed long term. Add to that #1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins, Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and LeBron’s buddy Anderson Varejao. This gives “King James” a chance to win now and in the future. The Cavaliers could also use some of that young talent in a trade to lure another All-Star like Kevin Love to C’Town. Plus G.M. David Griffin has salary cap and roster flexibility to go along with multiple first round draft picks to use in deals to improve the roster. Also, while they’re not the best of friends any more, LeBron knows that owner Dan Gilbert will pay money into the luxury tax if necessary to help the team win.
2. LeBron will announce this “Decision” via social media on his website at LeBronJames.com and on Twitter @KingJames.
“The Decision” TV show was a disaster and LeBron knows that and learned from that. As I’ve been saying for months now, he will use new media to announce this “Decision” and in turn, drive traffic to his website and add more followers to his Twitter account.
3. LeBron’s website headline – “Coming Home – Unfinished Business”.
The headline says it all. He returns home to Akron/Cleveland and fulfills his original promise of bringing a championship to the Cavaliers.
4. LeBron will switch from his old #23 he wore with the Cavs to his new number #32.
He’s returning to C’Town, but since a lot of people burned his old number #23 jersey, why not start fresh with a number he wore in high school his freshman year at St. Vincent St. Mary’s high school and at the McDonalds All American Game at The Q. Plus it forces those who did keep their #23 jersey’s to go out and buy the new #32 LeBron jersey. Just a smart business move.
5. LeBron will convince Ray Allen to come play for the Cavs.
The one area the Cavaliers still need to improve in is their outside shooting and why not bring in the greatest 3-point shooter in NBA history with him to Cleveland since Allen is a free agent.
There you have it, not one, not two, not three, not four, but five predictions about what’s next for LeBron James.
Welcome Home LeBron!
PS – On the slight chance “The Great Rodini” might be a little off and “The Godfather” of the NBA Pat Riley convinces James to stay in South Beach, expect it to be for just one or two years and then we’ll go through this all over again!
Time is winding down for LeBron James to decide on whether to stay in Miami or sign with Cleveland or someone else in free agency. Here are the moves that Heat president Pat Riley has made so far to bolster his roster and try to impress LeBron, as well as Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, in hopes of keeping Miami’s “Big 3” together for a few more years. Is this enough? Will there be other additions? The clock is ticking on Riley to do more, and on LeBron to make yet another decision.
In the NBA Draft the Heat traded for the point guard who led U-Conn to the National Championship, Shabazz Napier. Supposedly, Napier was LeBron James favorite player in the draft. Is he good enough to surplant Mario Chalmers or Norris Cole as the starting point guard for Miami? Or is that still a few years away for Napier?
Shabazz Napier- PG-6’1-180-22–U-Conn stats (18p-6r-5a) (40% – 3FG)
In NBA Free Agency so far, Riley has received verbal commitments from free agents Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger after losing out on the likes of Kyle Lowery and Marcin Gortat while getting non-committals from Pau Gasol or Luol Deng. Here’s a look at what McRoberts and Granger did this past season in the NBA. How much of an upgrade are they over who the Heat had on the bench or in the starting lineup last year?
Josh McRoberts- PF-6’10-240-27 –Hornets (8.5p–4.8r-4.3a) (36%-3FG)
Danny Granger- SF-6’9-228-31–Pacers/Clippers (8.2p-3.2r-1apg) (34%-3FG)
The first day players can officially sign their contracts is Thursday, July 10, 2014. Dan Gilbert and the Cavs, along with Pat Riley and the Heat, are hoping to know before Thursday what decision LeBron has made so it leaves time for either team to go after other free agents if LeBron tells them no.
And down the stretch they come! As we race towards July 10th, the first day NBA free agents can officially sign their new contracts; the biggest name in free agency has yet to decide what uniform he’ll be wearing next season. But the finish line is within sight and should be crossed in the next few days from what I’ve been told.
Sources tell me that LeBron James and his people will meet with the two or three finalists in Las Vegas over the next day or so and then make the decision as to where he will be playing next year.
It looks now like it’s a two horse race between the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers, with an outside shot of the Lakers climbing back into the race if they can convince Carmelo Anthony and Pau Gasol to sign in L.A. But to use a horse racing term, it’s considered a very “Long Shot”.
The reason the Cavs chances continue to rise is no all-star caliber free agent is willing to take less money and sign with the Heat as of tonight. Pat Riley struck out with Kyle Lowery and Marcin Gortat. He met and left without a verbal commitment from Luol Deng and Pau Gasol. Riley now is said to be talking to Marvin Williams as a potential free agent candidate. I’m not sure that’s the type of player that’s going to knock LeBron’s socks off and make him want to stay in Miami. So the longer this goes without a commitment from a legit, still close to his prime type player saying yes to the Heat, the better the chances are for the Cavs. But don’t count Riley out just yet. If he goes down, he’s going to go down swinging. But there may not be enough power (or salary cap space) in those punches to help him or save him.
With that in mind I would now put the Cavaliers chances of convincing James to return to Cleveland as a free agent at least at 60 percent and here’s why. They will offer him a max contract. There is an immediate chance to win, as well as an extended chance to win with the current roster. Also if James signs, the Cavs have the assets of cap space, young talent and future first round draft picks to change the roster if need be to bring in a third all-star player. Plus he’d be returning home, which would in turn make his wife happy. You know the old saying, “Happy Wife, Happy Life!”
James would also get the opportunity to finish what he started eleven years ago, when he was drafted first overall in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Cavaliers, and that was to bring the city of Cleveland a championship. He also promised to “Light Cleveland Up Like The Las Vegas Strip”. So it would only be fitting that if LeBron is indeed does return to Cleveland to play for the Cavaliers, he announce it this week from Las Vegas!
For those asking me to handicap the LeBron James sweepstakes, I will, but I really don’t know. Only James does, just like in 2010.
I will say this though, the fact that the Cavs, with a group that reportedly included Dan Gilbert, had a meeting with LeBron’s agent Rich Paul, is a good sign. That tells you that the fences have been mended to a degree between the two sides or the Cavs would have never even received a sit down with Paul to talk about LeBron’s future. Are things all hunky dory between Gilbert and James? No, and they may never be like they once were. But, business is business, and I’m sure the two can tolerate each other enough if it meant winning championships and making lots of money.
So with that in mind, I’ll put on my handicapping hat and give you my best guesses on where I think LeBron James could end up.
As far as the percentages of LeBron staying in Miami versus coming back to Cleveland or going to another team, right now I see it this way. Pat Riley and the Heat are still the front runners until “Riles” proves he can’t add the necessary players to Miami’s roster to make LeBron happy. So let’s put the Heat’s chances at 50 percent. As of now they’re still the leaders in the clubhouse. But if he does stay with Miami I expect his contract will be for only one or two years.
The Cavs, with an All-Star point guard in Kyrie Irving, plus that young nucleus of high lottery picks, cap space and multiple future first round picks are in second place in my opinion. This young roster has to be enticing to LeBron especially with the addition of Andrew Wiggins, or knowing that David Griffin could take some of those young players and trade them for a proven All-Star like Kevin Love. Add in he could come back home to be closer to his family and his Akron roots, along with it being a great story that would help repair his image even more. All that plays in to me giving the Cavaliers about a 30 percent chance, which is a better percentage than they had in the recent draft lottery. That percentage goes up if none of the All-Star caliber free agents want to take less money to play in Miami, or if Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade can’t agree on how to divide up the free agent money with their salaries.
So how do I break up the remaining 20 percent that’s left? There are reportedly four other teams that have talked with LeBron’s agent Rich Paul in recent days; Suns, Lakers, Rockets and Mavs. I’m adding a wild card just in case in the L.A. Clippers. Let’s give them each a 4 percent chance of luring LeBron away from South Beach.
The Lakers, only if Mitch Kupchak can miraculously team up LeBron with Kobe and Carmelo Anthony and it is “Hollywood”.
The Rockets, if James would consider playing with James Harden and Dwight Howard with all three getting max contracts, but what would the rest of the team look like?
The Mavs, because Dirk Nowitzki took a pay cut to create cap space for LeBron and maybe one other All-Star caliber player.
The Suns, who were 14 games over .500 last year and failed to make the playoffs in the Western Conference by just one game. Phoenix does have a nice young group of players, but no All-Stars and they’d have to make some serious moves to get LeBron and maybe another top flight free agent.
And finally my wild card out of left field the Clippers, because LeBron’s best friend Chris Paul is on the team. Also they’re a playoff team with a coach he respects greatly in Doc Rivers who is now in charge of pretty much everything. If the league acts swiftly and jettisons Donalrd Sterling, the Clippers could appeal to LeBron, but they’d have to make some serious moves to acquire James.
So there you have my best guesstimate as of today on where “King James” could end up. Tomorrow it may be different, and then change again on Monday and every day after that until he signs. LeBron is truly the only one who knows which way he is leaning. I believe he will give Miami every chance to bolster its roster, so he can stay there for another year or two, but the clock is ticking. If “The Chosen One” doesn’t feel that the Heat have improved enough in free agency, he is going to choose the team that he believes has the best roster and gives him the best chance to win. And who knows, that just might be Cleveland! If so, they’ll have beaten long odds again to win the sweepstakes.
Who’da thunk it right? The Cavs and Dan Gilbert meeting with his agent Rich Paul, about the potential of Akron’s favorite son coming back home. Not me!
Four years ago after “The Decision” there was no way I ever wanted to see him back in a Cavaliers uniform. Would never root for him again, the fan in me said. However after four excruciating, non-playoff years and a (.313) winning percentage, it’s funny how constant losing will change your mind. How all of a sudden in sports, you’re willing to forgive and forget for wins.
Was he wrong in how he handled free agency in 2010 with the circus-like atmosphere and then the TV special to rip our hearts out? Hell yes, and he knows that. But from a business stand point, let’s admit it; he made the right move as the Heat played in four straight NBA Finals, winning two of them. He became a champion.
If he comes back, and it would make for a great story, does he owe the city and Cavalier fans everywhere an apology? You bet your sweet you-know-what he does.
But he wouldn’t be coming back for just sentimental reasons, or to be closer to home and his family. If he returns to the Cavaliers it’s because he feels they give him the best chance to win because of the roster they have now and for the future.
Will he ever completely forgive Dan Gilbert for that scathing letter he wrote? No, not completely, just like Gilbert and true Cavs fans will never forgive him for the pain he put them through. However the Cavs owner and the 4-time league MVP are smart enough business men to realize that they can’t let those hard feelings from four years ago damage what could be a very successful and lucrative partnership. Plus he knows that @CavsDan is willing to pay into the luxury tax, something Heat owner Micky Arison would not do last year.
The longer Pat Riley and the Heat go without signing a legit free agent to bolster Miami’s roster this off season, the better the chances are for the Cavaliers and all the other teams of luring him away from South Beach. But don’t count “Riles” out just yet. The man has a total of 9 NBA Championship rings for a reason and that’s what scares me.
Plus, as the Cavs roster is constituted today, is their enough talent there for the 2-time Finals MVP to think he can return and win?
You’d have two-thirds of a “Big Three” with Kyrie Irving and the 8-time All-NBA first teamer, but who completes the trio? Is it #1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins? If so, how long will that take? Would the 2-time All-Star MVP coming to Cleveland make Dion Waiters a better player and that third amigo? Hard to imagine Waiters being able to play with two ball-dominate players when he can’t even play with one.
So is a trade necessary to bring in a big time All-Star like Kevin Love here to complete the trifecta? You have plenty of assists, but which ones would you be willing to give up for a player who could be a free agent after just one season in Cleveland? Are you willing for maybe a little “Love” to part with the bright future of Andrew Wiggins before he even plays a game for the Cavs? What about a lottery combo package of Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson and future number #1 draft picks? Yes, you have to give up something, to get something in return. But is Gilbert willing to gamble on that, like so many of you do at his casino?
It’s the “Fourth of July” and fireworks will be filling the skies all over this great country of ours, but imagine the fireworks that would occur if “The King” came home and apologized, and then fulfilled his original promise of leading Cleveland to its first championship since 1964. Sure, it may be a long shot, and who knows he may turn his back on us again, but at least there’s a shot. Four years ago I never would have even considered it; in fact I never would have given it a thought. But as free agency is upon us and LeBron James is out there, it’s all this basketball junkie can think about.