Author: Kurt Helin

Zach Randolph, Mike Miller

Report: Mike Miller met with Nuggets Sunday, but they are a long shot

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Mike Miller is one of the free agents in the bottleneck behind Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James’ decisions — once those two make moves the other dominos will start to fall quickly.

The Memphis Grizzlies want Miller to return but a number of very good teams — Oklahoma City, Houston, Portland — have reached out.

You can add the Nuggets to that, reports ESPN 92.9 in Memphis.

As he waits out free agency, Grizzlies’ free agent Mike Miller will visit the Denver Nuggets Sunday and Monday, a source told 92.9 FM ESPN Saturday morning….

Denver does have a mid-level exception available, though using it would likely put the Nuggets into the luxury tax. The Grizzlies, according to the source, had an initial offer of two years and annual salary between $2.4 and $2.9 million. Though Miller has repeatedly expressed his desire to stay in Memphis, he is also looking for more security in what will likely be his last multi-year deal.

Miller was healthy last season and played in every Grizzlies regular season and playoff game, averaging 7.1 points a game and shooting 45.9 percent from three. Still, at age 34 and having not played more than 59 games in the previous five seasons as he battled a variety of injuries, giving him more than a two-year deal would be foolish. A team that only wanted to offer one might be smart.

Also, hard to see the Nuggets going into the luxury tax. However, if they get everyone healthy next season — Danilo Gallinari and JaVale McGee basically missed the entire season — and with the addition of Arron Afflalo they are an interesting and potentially dangerous team in the West.

Report: Dallas Mavericks getting closer to deal to retain Vince Carter

Vince Carter

Dallas has always been the clear front runner to retain Vince Carter.

While Miami reportedly expressed some interest (Toronto, Oklahoma City and Portland also reportedly had reached out as well) Carter was happy in his sixth man role for the Mavericks last season, and they were happy to have him. Especially against the Spurs in the playoffs.

While Dallas waits for word on Carmelo Anthony (not likely coming) and to see if LeBron James opens the door fully to free agency, they have continued to go after Carter — and they are getting somewhere, reports Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas.

Carter averaged 11.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists for Dallas last season, and did all that fairly efficiently at age 37. The athleticism that made him must watch in his youth only shows in flashes now but he has evolved his game into a reliable, steady scorer and a smart, veteran player.

One it appears headed back to Dallas for another season.

Marcin Gortat on return Wizards: “The decision was really easy for me”

Marcin Gortat

Marcin Gortat had options. Teams were calling, including the Miami Heat (although they wanted him to take a steep discount). It’s always nice to be wanted.

But Gortat didn’t want to go anywhere — he wanted to stay in Washington.

Of course, the five-year, $60 million didn’t hurt (okay, that was the primary motivation), but Gortat did want to stay. Gortat was in Orlando to watch the Wizards’ Summer League team and spoke to NBA TV about his decision, as transcribed by J. Michael of

“I like the city. I like the team. I definitely feel comfortable over there. The team really took me under their wing and they helped me since Day 1. I love the chemistry between me and John Wall,” said Gortat, who was traded by the Phoenix Suns to Washington less than a week before last season began and signed a fully guaranteed five-year, $60 million deal to stay put. “I think Bradley Beal is going to be a great player one day. Coach Randy (Wittman) believes in me. I have a great relationship with him.

“The decision was really easy for me. We can be a special team for the next four or five years.”

The Wizards plan is to get the band back together from what was the third best team in the East by the end of last season and count on the improvements of John Wall and Bradley Beal to improve (as well as a few smaller moves).

That requires bringing back Trevor Ariza, who has a number of suitors (again including the Heat, who met with him on Saturday). Gortat wants to see him back and thinks the Wizards are poised to do damage in the East.

“Trevor is a big part of our success. We’d like to have him back …. We love him. We want him back. I believe (president) Ernie (Grunfeld) and Tommy Sheppard are going to do the right thing,” Gortat said. “Nene has to stay healthy. You’ve got to make sure he’s going to take care of his body. We got to make sure we limit his minutes to be consistent, to be good for us, productive. Make sure we’re not going to overload the guy.

“We believe we can be a better team next year. We had a lot of guys joining the team in the middle of the season. Me, Drew Gooden, Andre Miller. We believe next year at the same time we’re going to be a much better team.”

In what could be an unpredictable East as free agency still shakes itself out, the Wizards have to like their position.

Carmelo Anthony decision could come Monday, at least expected early in week

New York Knicks v Toronto Raptors

Carmelo Anthony said from the start he had a timeline: Meet with teams the first days of free agency, think through his options over the long holiday weekend, then make his decision.

Well, he flew around the country and met with teams, now we’re through the long holiday weekend, so…

The buzz around the league is to expect word on Monday. Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports is a little more vague gut sees an answer soon.

The decision appears to be down to the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers can offer a max contract of four years, $97 million dollars. Anthony would get to play with Kobe Bryant (and possibly Pau Gasol), plus the Lakers’ pitch played up the off-the-court Hollywood opportunities he would get. Anthony spends his off-seasons in Los Angeles already.

The Knicks can offer more money and one more year — five years, $129 million — and the pitch is that Phil Jackson is going to turn around the organization with his vision. And Anthony likes that vision. Plus he loves living in New York.

The Bulls, Rockets and Mavericks also all made pitches but seem to have not caught Anthony’s eye. All three have started to make moves to go after other targets more aggressively, a sign they know how the Anthony movie ends for them.

Anthony choosing a team would be the first of two moves needed to break open the bottleneck that has slowed free agency. The other is LeBron James, who is expected to meet with Heat president Pat Riley the first part of this week and make a decision one way or another on his future in Miami. Once those two decide a lot of things will likely start to happen fairly quickly around the league.

Heat free agency update: LeBron to meet with Riley; Rockets go hard after Chris Bosh

T-Mobile Magenta Carpet At The NBA All-Star Game - Arrivals

Miami is a free agent circus — not just some clowns and an elephant, more like an ensemble number from The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil. You can’t take it all in, it’s overwhelming and at times just ridiculous.

Using both personal sources and other reports, here are where things stand heading into Monday with the biggest free agent story of the summer — the goal here is to avoid speculation or gut feelings and just lay out the facts as I understand them.

• LeBron James and his camp are not talking, according to league sources speaking to ProBasketballTalk. Everything people are saying about what LeBron is thinking is not coming from his real inner circle — they learned their lesson back in 2010 and are talking less than a Navy Seal team about to head out on a mission.

• LeBron is going to meet this week with Pat Riley to get an update on plans to fill out the Heat’s roster and discuss LeBron’s plans, something first reported by Sam Amick at the USA Today (and since confirmed by other reports).

LeBron James and his agent, Rich Paul, plan on meeting with Miami Heat president Pat Riley in person early this week, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

Riley has had meetings with multiple available free agents — Luol Deng, Pau Gasol, Isaiah Thomas, Anthony Morrow, Martell Webster and others. However, until he has a firm salary number from “the big three” Riley cannot have firm numbers to give free agents.

• LeBron’s agent has taken meetings with a number of teams including the Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and others. Those were not meetings involving LeBron himself and participants said they were preliminary in nature.

The Cavaliers and other teams are working to clear cap space in event LeBron does decide to come.

• LeBron’s radio silence has made it uncomfortable for Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, who are considering their options… well, mostly Bosh because he has other good options. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports laid this out.

• About those other Bosh options, the Rockets expect that this week they will learn they did not land Carmelo Anthony and they are going to make a hard run at Bosh, reports Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

The Houston Rockets have ramped up their pursuit of Chris Bosh and are, in the words on one source, “heavily engaged” in trying to convince the All-Star power forward to leave the Miami Heat in free agency…

It is widely assumed throughout the league that Bosh will only be willing to leave Miami if James leaves first, after Bosh said numerous times during the season that he intended to stay with the Heat, even if it required taking a pay cut from last season’s $19 million salary. So Miami remains the favorite to sign him.

Frankly, I think Bosh is a better fit for the Rockets than Anthony.

• Bosh has said on multiple occasions he is very happy in Miami and doesn’t want to leave, but that was always under the assumption that LeBron James would stay. Bosh was the most vocal of the big three about the group staying together.

• It is assumed Wade will remain with Miami regardless of the outcome of anything else.