Signs pointing to Wade in Miami, Chris Bosh joining him. Unless Bosh goes to Cleveland with LeBron.

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Thumbnail image for wade_bosh.jpgThe New Jersey Nets are convinced that the Dwyane Wade/Chris Bosh tandem is headed to Miami. Ira Winderman — the most connected guy with the Heat — is saying it looks like Wade will return to South Beach.

But now reports are out there that the Cavaliers have a sign-and-trade in place with the Raptors and LeBon James is trying to pair with Bosh on the Cavs.

Nobody knows anything for sure. But things are heating up fast.

The Nets information comes from ESPN’s Chris Broussard:

In this historic summer of NBA uncertainty, one thing is clear to Mikhail Prokhorov: Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will play for the Miami Heat next season.

Another of Prokhorov’s beliefs is that if LeBron James joins Wade and Bosh in Miami, The King could win “two or three titles” but “diminish the LeBron brand” because he’d be winning with such a power-packed lineup. Those are two of the convictions the New Jersey Nets’ billionaire Russian owner shared with his inner circle of executives before boarding his private jet and leaving the United States over the weekend.

Then this morning there was this tweet from our own Winderman:

OK, time to chill. All signs still point to Wade with Heat. Just waiting on longshot of Bron, too.

Which is another thing Prokhorov thinks as well, according to Broussard: LeBron is considering joining them. It makes the photo of Wade and Bosh in a Chicago restaurant from last week – with the empty chair for LeBron between them, all the more telling. If you can read into that.

However, Wade staying in Miami trying to lure a big power forward to play with him has long been the plan in South Beach.

However, Broussard also said that Cleveland and Toronto have a sign-and-trade worked out and LeBron is trying to convince Bosh to join him in Cleveland.

Which would be a sign LeBron plans to stay in Cleveland, if true. And even with what would be given up in a sign-and-trade –Anderson Varejao, Delonte West, Anthony Parker and some picks? — the Cavaliers would be instant contenders.

Bosh remains the guy both Wade and LeBron want – he is the connection to a title for them. He balances their game.

Wade and Bosh together would form the core of what could be a powerhouse team. However, with the two of them he Heat would have four players under contract, so there is a lot of team building to go on (building that could take a couple years to get near championship team caliber).

For James, the questions are harder if he does not go to Miami with the other two. Stay home where the heart is in Cleveland and bring Bosh there to be part of a team that would instantly contend? Or maybe LeBron joins Rose and Noah in Chicago? Joins a young core to build a dynasty with New Jersey? Joins Amare in New York to try to win on the biggest stage? No easy answers there.

Everything is murky, but Wade staying in Miami seems to fit the information. And Bosh may well join him for his day in the sun.

Utah’s Donovan Mitchell wins throwback Dunk Contest with Vince Carter tribute

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LOS ANGELES — The 2018 Dunk Contest went retro.

And it worked.

The throwbacks started with Cleveland’s Larry Nance Jr. going quick-change to pay tribute to his father, the 1984 winner of the Dunk Contest.

Nance later had the best dunk of the night, but it wasn’t enough in the face of Utah’s Donovan Mitchell‘s strong and consistent night highlight by his throwback dunk — donning a Vince Carter Toronto dinosaur jersey and doing VC’s famed 360 dunk — which got Mitchell the 48 points he needed to hold-off Nance and win the contest. It was over.

“Growing up I was a big dunker,” Mitchell said. “I wasn’t really much of a basketball player. I just dunked and played defense, and I watched a lot of Vince’s videos. I’ve been seeing what he’s been doing all year at his age, which is incredible.

“So I figured, you know, at my size if I was able to get it, it would be a great dunk and a way to finish it, you know. And actually, funny story is I haven’t made that dunk in like half a year. I tried it in practice the past two days and tried it this morning, didn’t make it. Tried it last night, didn’t make it… But to be able to make it was why I was so excited.”

Earlier in the night, Mitchell had done another tribute worn a Darrell Griffith jersey — Utah’s Dr. Dunkenstien, who went to Louisville like Mitchell — for an off-the-side-of-the-backboard jumping over Kevin Hart dunk.

“You know, just knowing your history, I think, is the biggest thing,” Mitchell said of the throwbacks. “Just understanding where this game originated, I guess the OGs of the game, I guess you would call it. But just understanding. Even if it’s just dunking. Whether it’s dunking in the NBA in general, Darrell Griffith, we went to the same school in college. I know Darrell very well. Both got drafted by the Jazz, and he was an incredible player. To be able to pay homage to him meant a lot to me.”

For my money, Nance had the dunk of the night, his first in the Finals, a double off-the-backboard throwdown that you had to see on replay to get (it wasn’t as evident in the building what he had done until it was re-shown on the big screen).

It was a fun contest all night long.

Mitchell (the leader in the Rookie of the Year race) started it off brilliantly — he brought out a second backboard, and did a self-alley-oop off one to the other.

Larry Nance Jr. did his tribute to his father with his first dunk, and on his second one came from behind the backboard, going around the world, and threw it down hard. That got him into the Finals.

Oladipo missed all three of his dunks in the first round, which almost doomed his night. He, however, did a dunk wearing the Black Panther mask for his second dunk, which impressed.

Mitchell said he wanted to beat Dennis Smith Jr. because the Mavericks’ point guard had beaten him in dunk contests for years. Smith had one monster dunk, when he went between the legs and threw it down hard and got the full 50. It just wasn’t enough to get Smith to the Finals.

Nance started off the final round by bringing out his father again to throw an alley-oop to a windmill. Mitchell responded with a self-alley-oop to a windmill that was flat-out wicked. That got Mitchell a 50-46 lead after one round of the Finals.

Then Mitchell went to Vince Carter and “it was over.”

Larry Nance Jr. throws alley-oop to himself, throws alley-oop to himself (video)

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LOS ANGELES — Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. immediately motioned for the replay to be shown of this dunk. It was necessary to properly appreciate it.

Best dunk of the night.

Donovan Mitchell won the dunk contest, though.

Larry Nance Jr. plays tribute to father — rock-the-cradle dunk in Suns uniform

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LOS ANGELES — Back in 1984, high-flying Larry Nance Sr. won the first NBA All-Star Dunk Contest with this set of dunks — most famously a rock-the-cradle move.

Larry Nance Jr. came into the 2018 Dunk Contest and went nostalgic — all the way back to the Suns’ throwback uniform and the same dunk.

That and a good second dunk got him into the Dunk Contest finals. In that round, Nance Sr. threw an alley-oop to his son for the windmill.

Donovan Mitchell throws alley-oop to himself – off second backboard (video)

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LOS ANGELES – Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell set a high standard with the first slam of the 2018 dunk contest.

Very creative. Very well-executed.

Looks like all that preparation paid off.