Report: Heat have been given “zero indication” LeBron James wants to return

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The season of LeBron James speculation is upon us.

As you know unless you’ve spent the last year living in antarctica studying penguins, LeBron is a free agent next summer. Speculation that he could leave Cleveland again has simmered quietly for years, but the temperature has been turned up in recent months. Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert turned up the knob himself pushing GM David Griffin out the door without a Plan B in place.

Then to add to it, LeBron posted to Instagram this weekend photos of himself on a boat in and around Biscayne Bay, including this photo of the arena where he won his first rings.

A ton of great memories riding past her today!! #AAA #striveforgreatness🚀

A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

This raised the hopes of some Heat fans of a reconciliation. Could LeBron return to Miami? The Heat know nothing about it, reports Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

LeBron James’ Instagram posts Saturday might raise hopes among some Heat fans of a James return, but the Heat does not believe James has serious interest in returning, with the thought that he will stay in Cleveland or go to the Lakers….

Again, the Heat has been given zero indication that James – a free agent next summer – would have interest in coming back and isn’t expecting that.

The buzz around the league is that LeBron may well move on from Cleveland, but he’s going to leave all his options open. LeBron wants to have choices, and he’s put himself in a position to have them. The Lakers have been rumored, staying in Cleveland is a real possibility, but LeBron is going to play out his season then look at all his options and decide. Miami could be one of those options.

But an unlikely one. Miami could clear the cap space to get him — they would have to dump the salaries of guys like Tyler Johnson and Dion Waiters — but with Goran Dragic as a free agent, would this Heat team be poised to make a leap? Not likely, and not in an East where Boston is getting stronger and there could be other teams on the rise such as Milwaukee. Miami should be a playoff team next season, but not one where the addition of LeBron makes them a threat to the Celtics, or ultimately the Warriors.

This season is going to be like the season before LeBron left Cleveland previously, every little action is going to be scrutinized and read for clues. Post a photo and say you have great memories and fans will leap to conclusions, even if that was not his intention.

After four years out of NBA, Pacers give Damien Wilkins chance to return

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Consider this the most unexpected signing of the summer.

The last time we saw Damien Wilkins in the NBA, the 6’6″ wing out of the University of Georgia was finishing his ninth NBA season, averaging 6.4 points per game and shooting 33.3 percent from three. He looked like a guy who was done at the NBA level. Since then he has played in China, Spain, and the D-League.

The Pacers are giving him another crack to make an NBA roster. They have signed 37-year-old Wilkins to a non-guaranteed deal, reports the Indy Star.

The Indiana Pacers agreed to a one-year, non-guaranteed veteran minimum deal for close to $2 million with small forward and shooting guard Damien Wilkins, a league source confirmed to IndyStar.

The Pacers have 14 guys on the roster already, and they have at the wing Victor Oladipo, Lance Stephenson, Rodney Stuckey, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Glenn Robinson III, it will be tough for Wilkins to crack that rotation.

But he’ll get his chance, and having a desperate veteran pushing guys in camp never hurts. Maybe he can impress enough in camp that if the Pacers don’t want him another team might. It’s a foot in the door, and that’s all Wilkins can ask at this point.

Watch the Top 10 dunks from the NBA Summer League

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Summer League, at its core, is athletic young players in sloppy games.

That leads to massive dunks. Here are the top 10, which John Collins deserving the top spot.

Report: Carmelo Anthony willing to waive $8 million trade kicker for Rockets

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Carmelo Anthony does not want to return to the Knicks. The Knicks want to trade Carmelo Anthony. The Houston Rockets would like to trade for Carmelo Anthony.

So far all that will has not gotten a deal nearly as close to done as has been reported, I was told by sources. There are major hurdles, and the Knicks don’t like the offers they’ve gotten so far, which is why they pulled back (not because of the Scott Perry hiring or some desire to change Anthony’s mind). As has been reported before, Anthony is willing to waive his no trade clause for the right team to get the deal done, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN said on The Jump.

“My sources tell me he’s willing to waive the trade kicker, which is worth around $8 million, so that makes a little easier for Houston to do a trade.”

That’s nice. It doesn’t solve the core problem with a Rockets’ trade.

The Rockets are over the cap so the only way this trade gets done is they send out enough salary to match and create space for Anthony. The Rockets could do that with a combination of Eric Gordon, Clint Capela, Trevor Ariza, and some expiring deals, but that cuts way too deeply into the roster and hurts the Rockets more than it helps. What the Rockets need to do in this trade is move Ryan Anderson, and his three-years, $60 million — except the Knicks don’t want that contract on their books (even though Anderson is a good player when healthy). So now the two sides are trying to find a third team that would take on Anderson’s contract, but the Rockets are going to have to give up sweeteners — a couple first round picks or a pick and a quality young player — that they don’t have to get the deal done. So enter a fourth team to get the sweeteners, but that team will want things back, and quickly the house of cards falls apart.

On top of all that, the Knicks still don’t think they’re getting enough back in the trade to want to do it. Yet, anyway.

Over on the left coast, there is Portland saying “look at us, look at us!” They would be willing to trade for Anthony, as C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard have made clear.

One massive problem with that: Anthony has not been interested in waiving his no trade clause for anyone but Cleveland and Houston.

If he changes his mind — and that’s a huge, unlikely “if” — maybe a deal could be found. The Blazers already have a top-five payroll in the NBA (may be top two when all is said and done) and that means they have to send out salary as well, someone like Evan Turner and Meyers Leonard (moving Allen Crabbe is the dream, but also highly unlikely). The Knicks could have interest in Turner, the Blazers have picks to throw in, and if a third team picked up Leonard maybe we’re close to something. But until Anthony makes it clear he would accept a trade to Portland, something he has yet to do, this is all a moot exercize.

But hey, Anthony will waive his trade kicker. So there’s that.

Can Stephen Curry shoot the ball into the sun roof of a car? Did you even need to ask?

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Stephen Curry has been getting up buckets the past week, working on his game. Sort of. It’s been a bit unconventional.

First, he finished off an alley-oop pass from Tony Romo on the American Century golf course in Lake Tahoe.

Then on Thursday he was filming an Infinity car commercial and had to shoot one into the sun roof from what looks to be 15-20 feet away. He drains it.

Of course he made that, he’s basically the Meadowlark Lemon of a new generation, but without the hook shot.