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.

Nets’ Jeremy Lin: ‘We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says’

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The Nets went 20-62 then traded their best player (Brook Lopez) for a worse player (D'Angelo Russell). Brooklyn’s biggest free-agent signing this summer (Otto Porter) plays for the Wizards. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert are nice developmental pieces but hardly seem on the verge of breakthroughs.

Still, Nets guard Jeremy Lin expects big things next season.

He set expectations in an Instagram Live video (hat tip: AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today):

We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says.

The Nets are on the right track given their asset constraints. Though worse than Lopez now, Russell – eight years younger and on a low-paying rookie-scale deal – is more valuable. Brooklyn made the favorable swap by absorbing Timofey Mozgov‘s awful contract, a wise use of assets considering the difficulty of attracting free agents. An aggressive offer sheet for Porter was a reasonable swing in that situation, as well.

But that’s all helpful in the long run. In the short term, the Nets are almost certainly stuck as lousy. Maybe they can sneak into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference, but even that is a huge longshot.

Not that Lin cares what I say.

Check out Top 10 blocks from Summer League (VIDEO)

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When you think of Summer League basketball, sharp defensive rotations is not the first thing that comes to mind. Defense, in general, tends to be an after thought.

But there were some great blocks.

Here are the top 10 blocks from the Las Vegas Summer League. Enjoy the flashes of defense from Vegas.

 

Memphis Grizzlies sign former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The Memphis Grizzlies have signed former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, a second-round pick in last month’s NBA draft.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Brooks was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 45th overall pick. The Grizzlies acquired him in exchange for a future second-round pick.

Brooks, 21, averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a junior at Oregon last season. He was named the Pac-12 player of the year and helped Oregon earn its first Final Four berth since 1939.

 

Report: Even after Kyrie Irving requests trade, Carmelo Anthony still focused on Rockets, not Cavaliers

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Carmelo Anthony was reportedly willing to waive his no-trade clause for the Rockets or Cavaliers. Cleveland never seemed overly interested, but Houston was. Anthony became set on the Rockets, even reportedly expecting a trade to Houston.

Then, Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cavs.

That has thrown everything for a loop. Maybe Cleveland is more keen on trading for Anthony now? The Knicks are reportedly interested in trading Anthony and draft picks for Irving.

But any deal still depends on Anthony’s approval, and it’s now unclear he’d still grant that for the Cavaliers.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

However, a source close to Anthony said late Friday that the All Star forward is focused on getting a deal done with Houston.

Consider this another indication LeBron James will leave Cleveland next summer. Of course, Anthony might have other reasons for preferring Houston. But when reading tea leaves on LeBron’s future, this is a clue.

I doubt LeBron has completely decided his plan, and he hasn’t even necessarily shared his thinking with Anthony, a close friend. Remember, LeBron edited his coming-home essay while on a flight with an unknowing Dwyane Wade, another close friend. But it was one thing for LeBron to strand Wade in Miami, a desirable city where Wade was happy even before LeBron arrived. It’d be something else entirely for LeBron to ditch Anthony in Cleveland. If LeBron is considering leaving, maybe he’d tell Anthony to stay clear.

Anthony could also be operating without hearing directly from LeBron. But if LeBron’s friend believes LeBron might leave, that’d still say something (though obviously not as much).

Back to the possibility that Anthony prefers the Rockets for other reasons. What happens if New York and Cleveland agree to a trade? Does Anthony still hold out for his top choice? Or does he relent and accept what was once his second choice? For now, it seems as if he’s still angling for Houston and will cross other bridges if he reaches them.