Reports: LeBron James leaning heavily toward Miami

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Thumbnail image for wade_bosh-James.jpgLeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all on the same team.

Wow.

But it is looking more and more that way. Sources have told Alan Hahn at Newsday as well as the well-connected Chris Broussard at ESPN that LeBron is leaning heavily toward joining Wade and Bosh in Miami.

Nothing is certain. The ground is shifting on this like you’re standing over California’s San Andreas Fault.

But right now, it looks like a “super team” in Miami. LeBron reportedly flew down to Miami for dinner Wednesday night. He also reportedly was in Akron playing softball. And was in New York. And was the first man to walk on Mars. And helped coach the Netherlands’s World Cup soccer team.

If they do combine, it would create an interesting experiment in the NBA — what if you surround three superstars with minimum salary players? How good would they be?

Yes, the odd over-the-hill veteran may join them to get a ring, but most of the players in the league are not financially set like LeBron/Wade/Bosh. Those players need to go where the money is. And Miami will not be able to offer much. You get what you pay for.

The other question is money. Wade can receive Bird-rights money, about one more year and $28 million more than someone signed outright. Miami could sign one other max player, then someone would have to take a healthy pay cut.

Or, they all could. If each took a five-year deal at around $15.2 million, they could all fit into the Heat’s cap. But then we come back to the “who do you surround them with?” question.

No easy answers. But right now, Miami is the frontrunner. And the race is almost over.

Rockets’ Clint Capela on Warriors: ‘I expect to beat them’

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During the 2014-15 season, Rockets star James Harden said the Warriors “ain’t even that good.”

Golden State went on to reach the last three NBA Finals, twice beating Houston in the playoffs, and win two championships.

The Rockets have since re-tooled around Harden, Chris Paul and several quality role players and are in first place. Houston looks like the biggest threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference.

Rockets center Clint Capela on the Warriors, via Dave Schilling of Bleacher Report:

“I expect to beat them,” Capela says.

That’s a fine sentiment. Saying it publicly is another matter. Not even Harden did that a couple years ago. He was recorded during a pregame team huddle.

There’s a fine line between self-fulfilling confidence and providing bulletin-board material to the opponent. There’s already some animosity between the teams stemming from the Stephen Curry-Harden MVP race in 2015, and it has bubbled since. No matter how harmless Capela’s remark might have been intended to be, it’ll be met contentiously in the Bay Area.

PBT Extra Player of the Week: Victor Oladipo

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Oklahoma City traded for Victor Oladipo out of Orlando to be their third scorer, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It didn’t exactly work out that way, Durant bolted town and when Westbrook went off Oladipo was looking for a place to fit in.

That place turned out to be the Pacers.

Oladipo has been playing like an All-Star this season with Indiana, and last week he was key in snapping Cleveland’s 13 game win streak, then turned around and dropped 47 points on Denver. For the week he averaged 35.7 points a game, shot 45.7 percent from three, plus grabbed 7.7 rebounds per game.

That will get you named the PBT Extra Player of the Week.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.