The Heat lost the best player in the game when LeBron James chose to join the Cavaliers in free agency, but they’ve done a nice job of maintaining a solid overall roster that may still very well be able to contend for the Eastern Conference crown.
Chris Bosh returned on a max contract, Luol deng is a capable All-Star who will replace James in the starting lineup, and Dwyane Wade is expected to be back, once the exact dollar figure and years on his next deal have all been sorted out.
Miami was also able to get its point guard to commit to re-sign, further maintaining a decent level of continuity despite LeBron’s decision.
From Marc Stein of ESPN.com:
Mario Chalmers is returning to the Miami Heat on a two-year deal, sources tell ESPN
Chalmers has been the starting point guard for the Heat for the last three seasons, and while his averages of 9.8 points and 4.9 assists in 29.8 minutes per game last year are simply serviceable, there’s a comfort level there with Erik Spoelstra trusting him on the floor when the game matters most.
The short-term deals the Heat are constructing, like this one and the similar two-year deal for Deng, are being done to maintain maximum salary cap flexibility to continue to have the ability to add talent in the very near future. LeBron isn’t likely to return when he an technically become a free agent in two years himself, but Miami is going to keep its options open in case he — or other high-impact All-Stars — seek Miami as a destination when that time comes.
Dwyane Wade revealed last year that LeBron James refuses to use his phone internationally unless he’s on Wi-Fi.
LeBron’s friend and new Cavaliers teammate again brought up that claim, and LeBron confirmed – then went even further about his own cheapness.
LeBron in a joint interview with Wade on ESPN:
No. I’m not doing that. I’m not turning on data roaming. I’m not buying no apps. I still got Pandora with commercials.
LeBron – he’s just like us!
As funny as that line is, keep watching to see LeBron hilariously explain how his hairline affects his interviews.
Last year, Russell Westbrook had a historic season on his way to the MVP award, with James Harden and Kawhi Leonard right on his heels. But heading into this season, the dynamic for MVP — and many of the NBA awards — feels very different and wide open.
In this latest PBT Extra, I lay out my preseason predictions for every award — LeBron James for MVP, Ben Simmons for Rookie of the Year, and on down the list. There are a few leaps and surprises in there (predicting Most Improved or Sixth Man before the season is a crap shoot, so why not gamble).
Now the predictions season is over, let’s get on to the games.
Jazz point guard Dante Exum hurt his shoulder in a preseason game – an injury that immediately looked like it could be season-ending.
Though Utah doesn’t outright say Exum is done for the year, this doesn’t engender much hope.
The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard Danté Exum who suffered a separated left shoulder on October 6 vs. Phoenix.
After further evaluation, Exum (6-6, 190, Australia) has elected to undergo surgery to stabilize the AC joint of his left shoulder. The surgery is scheduled to take place Tuesday, October 24 in Los Angeles. Further updates will be provided when appropriate.
Exum (obviously) didn’t receive a contract extension before today’s deadline, so he’ll become a free agent next summer. After one full missed season already and two years of limited effectiveness, it’s not even clear Utah will extend Exum a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. The former No. 5 pick almost certainly won’t meet the starter criteria, which means his qualifying offer would be worth $4,333,931 (down from $6,619,903 based on his draft slot).
The Jazz will start Ricky Rubio, and Raul Neto will be the primary point guard behind him. Wings Rodney Hood, Alec Burks, Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles can all share facilitating duties.
Utah will probably be just fine without Exum this season, which speaks to his marginal place long-term.
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — LeBron James‘ playing status for Tuesday’s season opener against Boston remains unclear.
James has been slowed by a sprained left ankle for more than two weeks and it’s still not known whether he’ll be on the floor when the Cavaliers take on the Celtics and Kyrie Irving, who asked to be traded by Cleveland this summer.
Following Monday’s practice, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said “I really don’t know” when asked if James will play.
James took part in some post-practice shooting drills with teammates. He did not speak with the media as the Cavaliers prepared for their opener, a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference finals.
James has never missed an opener in his NBA career, and teammate J.R. Smith doesn’t expect him to miss this one.
“Oh, he’s going to go,” Smith said. “He’s going to go, trust me that. I don’t care what he’s got to do, he’s going to play.”