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AP Source: Bosh, Miami Heat reach agreement to part ways

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MIAMI (AP) — Chris Bosh‘s time on the Miami Heat roster is finally nearing an end.

A complicated end, at that.

The blood clots that Bosh has dealt with over parts of the last three seasons have been declared a career-ending injury situation and the Heat will soon remove the 11-time All-Star forward from their roster and salary cap going forward, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Friday. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the agreement has not been announced publicly.

Bosh will never be able to play again for the Heat, said the person, adding that Bosh could play again if another club gives him medical clearance.

If that happens – and it’s unclear if that’s a possibility because the specifics of Bosh’s current health situation are unknown – the Heat will face no risk of having any of the $52 million Bosh is owed over the next two seasons returning to their salary cap.

“I’m still a basketball player at heart,” Bosh told AP in March. “I can’t help it.”

So it appears the 33-year-old Bosh will have a chance to play again, and Miami gets to soon close the last remaining link to the “Big Three” era that saw the Heat reach four consecutive NBA Finals with Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James leading the way from 2011 through 2014. And months of talks between Bosh, the Heat, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association are about to bring a resolution.

Bosh remains on the Heat roster for now, and could stay there for several more weeks. It’s almost certain that he will eventually be waived once Miami needs his cap space for free agency in July – the Heat will have around $37 million in room once Bosh’s contract comes off the books – though a trade is still technically possible.

It was obvious last September that Bosh had played his last game for the Heat, after he failed a physical and team president Pat Riley said the franchise was moving forward without the two-time champion in its plans. Bosh made clear last fall that he wanted to play, and eventually got back into the game as an analyst for Turner Sports late in the season.

He described what he went through this past season as “a taste of retirement.”

“You’re going 100 mph and the brakes are slammed on and now you’re not moving at all,” Bosh said in the March interview. “It’s definitely an adjustment, just being able to get used to things and finding that purpose that I think we all need to succeed and have good mental health. It’s been a challenge. Things happen for a reason, I guess.”

Bosh’s first known bout with a clot was in February 2015, when one that was believed to have formed in one of his legs traveled to a lung and caused problems so severe that he needed to be hospitalized for several days. He recovered and was averaging 19.1 points in the 2015-16 season when the second known issue with a clot began – ironically, at the All-Star break, just as was the case the season before.

He hasn’t played since.

 

Report: Kyle Lowry meets with Dwane Casey, DeMar DeRozan to talk future with Raptors

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Kyle Lowry has opted out of the final year of his contract and is a free agent this summer. The All-Star and Gold Medal winner who has been at the heart of the Raptors offense the past couple of seasons will draw a max contract and interest from several teams.

Toronto has made a priority out of keeping him, but there are rumors of him wanting out of Toronto — although he has said no such thing and has embraced the city — and other destinations such as his hometown of Philadelphia pop up. (Philly makes no sense for Lowry, but logic never kills a good rumor.)

Recently, Lowry had dinner in the Bay Area with DeMar DeRozan and Raptors coach Dwane Casey, reports Chris Haynes at ESPN.

The main impetus for the Casey-led assembly is unclear, but the Raptors are obviously under pressure to re-sign Lowry, who is projected to be one of the most coveted free agents on this summer’s market.

Among Casey’s objectives for the meeting, sources say, was to expose his players to the NBA Finals culture.

The meeting was significant enough that DeRozan flew in from Los Angeles for a day, a source said. Raptors reserve guard Norman Powell also attended the meeting, sources say.

Lowry and Casey have not always seen eye-to-eye, but where exactly is Lowry going to go that he’s closer to a title than Toronto? San Antonio, where they would have to gut the roster to sign him? (The Spurs aren’t the kind of organization that does that, but if they did it for Chris Paul, not Lowry.) Philly, because they are close to a title? Same with the Lakers or Brooklyn or most other teams with max money.

Which is why Lowry may look around, but in the end he returns to Toronto, and they will try to find a way past the Cavaliers (and the improving Celtics) in the East.

Report: Bucks want to speak to Spurs’ assistant coach Becky Hammon about GM spot

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The Milwaukee Bucks are trying to cast a very wide net in their search to replace general manager John Hammons. They are speaking to some former GMs, some up and comers from other teams, and they have Cavaliers’ GM David Griffin — who is without a contract after July 1, amazingly — to the list as well.

Now add Spurs assistant coach and former WNBA star Becky Hammon to the list, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Another candidate whom the Bucks have contacted, league sources said: San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon. Hammon has no front-office experience, but has been a behind-the-bench assistant coach under Gregg Popovich for three seasons.

There are questions: Does Hammon want a front office job? Would she be good in that role? Should the Bucks hire a GM who hasn’t worked in a front office role before?

I doubt she gets it, but it shows that the Bucks are taking a look at a lot of different people. That said, the smart money is still on former assistant general manager Justin Zanik, who is the current interim GM in the run-up to the draft.

Report: As expected, Dion Waiters opts out of $3.2 million with Heat to become free agent

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Dion Waiters earned himself a raise with his play last season in Miami.

The Heat may well give it to him, but first this had to happen: He opted out of his contract for next season with the team, reports Chris Haynes of ESPN.

Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters intends to decline his 2017-18 player option to enter unrestricted free agency on July 1, league sources tell ESPN.

Waiters, 25, will turn down an option worth a little more than $3.2 million. His consistent production this past season bodes well for a considerable salary increase….

He had a breakout season under head coach Erik Spoelstra. In his lone season with the Heat, Waiters registered career highs in rebounds (3.3), assists (4.3) and 3-point percentage (40%). His 15.8 points per game average was the third highest on the team and his second highest career mark.

This was expected, one way or another he’s in for a big raise.

Waiters scoring was a key part of Miami’s 30-11 second half of the season, and he has said he wants to return to the Heat (and indications are the Heat want to sign him).

The questions are: How sustainable was his play last season, and how many years do teams want to be locked into him for?

Miami got Waters in the best shape of his life (just check out his Instagram), and that certainly was a part of it. So was the fact that, especially after Justise Winslow went down, Waiters got the ball in his hands more with a chance to create for himself. Miami may not be the only team willing to give him a lot of touches.

There will be teams interested in Waiters in the $8 million to $10 million range, maybe a little more. For a two guard who can score and is a solid defender, that’s a good deal.

Expect Miami to pay the most as, unless they luck out with a Blake Griffin/Gordon Hayward level signing, they will run back last year’s roster and count on the second half of the season not being a fluke. Same with Waiters’ success.

Warriors expect Game 2 to get physical as Cavaliers try to take away easy baskets

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OAKLAND — If a team gives Golden State a lot of easy buckets — say six dunks to Kevin Durant in the first half alone — they are doomed. Throw in a bunch of turnovers so the Warriors get out in transition, and the opposition is going to get routed.

Which is exactly what happened to Cleveland in Game 1.

It’s also why the Cavaliers think what went wrong in Game 1 is fixable.

“We need to focus on the things we can do better..,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said Friday. “We have to limit their easy baskets. We can’t turn the ball over 20 times as that gives them easy transition buckets. We have to take care of the basketball.”

How many of those Cavaliers mistakes were forced, and how many unforced? Lue thinks the majority are unforced, which is why he says they will not change their lineups for Game 2.

“I thought a lot of (what went wrong) can be corrected,” Lue said. “It’s a different dynamic when Kevin Durant is pushing the ball in transition and Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are on the wings, we got spread out in transition. We have to do better….

“They only shot 42 percent from the field. You take away those transition buckets and them having 20 more shots than us, take those away and it’s a different game.”

The transition was part of the problem, but Cleveland did not do a good job protecting the rim in the halfcourt either. Do they pack the paint? What should the Warriors expect?

“I expect the Cavs to be more physical to combat this,” Klay Thompson said.

“I don’t know if they’ll pack the paint… but I’ll expect they’ll make adjustments and do better in that department next game,” Warriors interim coach Mike Brown said.

It was part of a theme — Golden State knows it has not taken Cleveland’s best shot.

“I do expect them to play better,” Brown said. “I understand they didn’t feel they played their best game, and they can go to the film room and have a better plan…

“LeBron said in his press conference that it’s hard to simulate what we do, now they have a game under their belt and they can watch film.”

Cleveland’s coaches can come up with a good game plan, the question is do the Warriors have the players to execute it. Whatever that plan is, it has to start with taking better care of the ball.

“You can credit some of their defense, but some of them were unforced turnovers which led to transition baskets,” Lue said of all the turnovers. “We can’t play in between, that’s when the turnovers happened, we have to be more decisive.”

It’s foolish to brush aside the Cavaliers after one game — this team was down 3-1 last season and came back to win the series. LeBron has a long history of bouncing back from Game 1 losses.

However, the Cavaliers have a lot of work to do. And it needs to start Friday with a more focused effort. And fewer turnovers.