Kurt Helin

Signed, sealed: LeBron signs $100 million contract with Cavs

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LeBron James didn’t waste any time signing his new contract.

A day after agreeing to a deal that can pay him $100 million over the next three seasons, the Cavaliers superstar signed it Friday and will make $31 million next season.

James, who can become a free agent in the third season, will make $33 million in 2017-18, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press. James’ 2018-19 option is worth $36 million, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because financial terms were not disclosed.

In his third season back in Cleveland, James led the Cavs to the title, the first for one of the city’s three professional sports teams since the Browns won the NFL championship in 1964.

“We are very fortunate to have a championship group together,” Cavs general manager David Griffin said. “One that has grown organically to trust, and sacrifice for one another – on and off the floor. At the core of that group is LeBron. His leadership, passion and tireless commitment are the hallmarks of our success and have inspired our entire franchise.

“His connection and dedication to his community and this fan base are absolute. We share his determination to win at the highest level and can’t wait to get back to work, together to defend our title.”

The Cavs rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the finals to stun Golden State, winning Game 7 on the road. Late in that game, James raced back to block a shot by Andre Iguodala, a rejection that has become the signature play of the three-time champion’s career.

James, who has spent most of his time since winning his third title in Los Angeles, posted a photo of him signing the deal on his Instagram account with the caption “Committed!!” He’s seated next to agent and close friend, Rich Paul.

A four-time MVP and 12-time All-Star, James averaged 25.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.8 assists last season. The 31-year-old shows little sign of slowing down, and on Thursday he said on a Twitter posting he’s focused on the Cavs defending their title.

Appearing in his sixth straight finals last season, he averaged 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists and 2.3 blocks, becoming the first player to lead a series in every major statistical category.

Andrew Bogut’s left knee, injured in Finals, causes him to sit out Australia win over China

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Australia didn’t need Andrew Bogut on the court to beat China on Friday. They won’t need him to beat Venezuela in their final game of group play, either.

Which is good, because he needs a little time off to rest his left knee. Bogut suffered a bone bruise to the left knee during the NBA Finals when J.R. Smith ran into him (it was one of the turning points of the series).

Not surprisingly, that has flared up a little.

You can be sure Mark Cuban is in favor of this rest.

The Aussies can rest Bogut until next week, but they will want him for the knockout stage/medal rounds. With a win over Venezuela, Australia would come in second in its group to the USA, meaning they would be on the other side of the bracket and could avoid the Americans until the gold medal game (if they advance). Australia and Lithuania have looked like the two best teams in the tournament so far (outside of the USA), although both Spain and France have talented rosters and could put a run together.

Watch Stephen Curry nail halfcourt shot sitting down. Because he can.

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Knocking down long-range bombs while standing up is apparently getting too easy for Stephen Curry.

The Warriors’ guard was hosting his annual youth camp and knocked down this shot during it, without much effort, it seems.

Okay Kevin Durant, match that.

Consider this another reminder that a team with Curry, Durant, and Klay Thompson is going to be very, very difficult to guard on the perimeter next season.

Miami Heat owner writes letter to fans, expressing confidence

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Miami Heat managing general partner Micky Arison released an open letter to the team’s fans Thursday night, telling them he is confident they’ll enjoy the upcoming season.

The letter’s release on the Heat Twitter account came a few hours after the NBA schedule was released. It’ll be the first Heat schedule since 2002-03 without Dwyane Wade, who left Miami after 13 seasons and signed with the Chicago Bulls.

“Obviously, this has been a challenging summer … one with significant change,” Arison wrote. “For the first time in a long time, Dwyane Wade will not be part of our team, but it will be a joyous homecoming when we someday hang his No. 3 jersey from the rafters.”

Wade and the Bulls come to Miami only once this season, that being Nov. 10.

Arison wrote that in his 21 years leading the franchise, there have been the highs of three championships and the lows of playoff disappointments and the health issues that sidelined Alonzo Mourning and Chris Bosh.

“And so, as (Heat President) Pat Riley has said on numerous occasions, `One of the only things you can count on in life that is permanent is change,”‘ Arison wrote. “We need to understand and embrace change as part of sports; in fact, as a part of life.”

Arison added that the Heat culture will not change, and that he fully expects this season’s team to continue the franchise’s mantra of being “the hardest working, best conditioned, most professional, unselfish, toughest, meanest, nastiest team in the NBA.”

Miami opens the season Oct. 26 at Orlando. The home opener is two nights later against Charlotte, and Miami will carry a streak of 294 consecutive home sellouts into the season.

Report: Raptors in near deal to extend general manager Masai Ujiri

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Masai Ujiri has overseen the building of the best teams in Toronto Raptors history — last season they won a franchise record 56 games and reached the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time. Also, the core of that team is locked up for years to come. All that in the season the organization hosted its first ever All-Star Game. Things have never been better for the Raptors.

So extending the GM that put it all together makes sense, something that may happen soon according to Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

Sources said the Raptors and Ujiri are nearing agreement on a lucrative new deal that will keep the 46-year-old in Canada for the foreseeable future, even though he still has nearly two years left on the original five-year, $15 million pact he signed with Toronto in May 2013.

There had been rumors that the Knicks and other teams may try to poach Ujiri, this extension makes that far less likely.

Smart move by Toronto. Remeber Ujiri came to the Raptors and turned them around, amazingly getting something more than a rack of shootaround basketballs back for Andrea Bargnani (thanks for the first round pick, Knicks), plus engineering the Rudy Gay trade. Ujiri deserves a lot of credit for where he’s gotten the Raptors (although how they might grow to challenge Cleveland is hard to see) and he deserves the new contract.