Toronto has made a move to sign the leading scorer from Olympiacos in Greece — former Nugget Linas Kleiza.
Toronto has signed Kleiza to a four year, $20 million offer sheet, according to Marc Spears at Yahoo. Denver still has the rights to Kleiza and now has seven days to match that offer or lose him.
Kleiza, to refresh your memory, is a 6’8″ forward who spent four years coming off the bench for Denver. Like a lot of European big men, he has a deft outside touch, but he can push and bang inside. He was a solid bench player for the Nuggets, but for Olympiacos was a scoring machine.
Kleiza is no replacement for Chris Bosh, but he can give them quality minutes nightly.
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all on the same team.
But it is looking more and more that way. Sources have told Alan Hahn at Newsday as well as the well-connected Chris Broussard at ESPN that LeBron is leaning heavily toward joining Wade and Bosh in Miami.
Nothing is certain. The ground is shifting on this like you’re standing over California’s San Andreas Fault.
But right now, it looks like a “super team” in Miami. LeBron reportedly flew down to Miami for dinner Wednesday night. He also reportedly was in Akron playing softball. And was in New York. And was the first man to walk on Mars. And helped coach the Netherlands’s World Cup soccer team.
If they do combine, it would create an interesting experiment in the NBA — what if you surround three superstars with minimum salary players? How good would they be?
Yes, the odd over-the-hill veteran may join them to get a ring, but most of the players in the league are not financially set like LeBron/Wade/Bosh. Those players need to go where the money is. And Miami will not be able to offer much. You get what you pay for.
The other question is money. Wade can receive Bird-rights money, about one more year and $28 million more than someone signed outright. Miami could sign one other max player, then someone would have to take a healthy pay cut.
Or, they all could. If each took a five-year deal at around $15.2 million, they could all fit into the Heat’s cap. But then we come back to the “who do you surround them with?” question.
No easy answers. But right now, Miami is the frontrunner. And the race is almost over.
You didn’t notice last year because Dwyane Wade mesmerized you, but Jermaine O’Neal had a pretty good year.
Danny Ainge apparently noticed. The Celtics are close to signing O’Neal according to Yahoo Sports.
Of course, there are always other suitors. Denver and Dallas in this case. All three teams who could use some front line depth.
But Boston has to be particularly tempting for any role player — they made it to the finals last year and will have much of the same team back. You’ll get minutes because Doc Rivers has to rest those aging stars during the season. Great, passionate fan base.
Plus, with Kendrick Perkins out the first couple months of the season, you’ll have the chance to really establish yourself.
Of course, it’s always about the money. This is going to take the full mid-level exception (nearly $5.8 million) or more. The years will come into play, as well. O’Neal is 31.
But apparently Boston is close. And this would be a good deal for them.
Shaquille O’Neal a Spur? That may be in the Book of Revelations as one of the signs of the Apocalypse. We’ll check and get back to you.
But it may be a reality, not just a sign of the end times. According to FanHouse, Shaq had had interest from the Spurs and that is his preferred destination. Also right there are the Atlanta Hawks, who are supposed to have offered a two-year deal at the mid-level exception already.
What Shaq really wants is a two-year deal, which will have him playing until he’s 40. Part of the pitch is that the second year would be a farewell tour that leads to a lot of sold-out buildings (and some extra revenue) on the 41 road games. Well, providing there isn’t a lockout. And ignoring the distraction that would be for the rest of the team.
Shaq is not the unstoppable force he once was, but he can provide some limited, quality minutes. He’s still a big body you can bring off the bench. Teammates still love him.
But a Spur? Shaq and Tim Duncan? Just hard to get our arms around that one.
Just like our wars and national disasters, it didn’t take long for the LeBron James special to have its name and logo. The theme music can’t be far behind.
“The Decision” will air on ESPN and ESPN Radio starting at 9 p.m. eastern on Thursday night. The ESPN on-air team of Stuart Scott, Michael Wilbon and Jon Barry will sit around a desk and expound upon the happenings.
The announcement is expected in the first 15 minutes of the show. Then Jim Gray will get the first interview with LeBron (please ask about Pete Rose betting on baseball, please?).
LeBron will be at the Boys and Girls club in Greenwich, Connecticut for the event — because he is going to New York right after.
But not for that. Probably. He is going to Carmelo Anthony’s wedding in NYC over the weekend (which is being filmed for its own reality show, seriously). What we’re saying is don’t read much into the location.
What else could you want to know about the show? Oh, that. Sorry, we have no idea anymore.