Chandler Parsons is in the second tier of free agents, the ones waiting for the LeBron James/Carmelo Anthony bottleneck to break free. He’s in the green room waiting to go on with Pau Gaol, Paul Pierce, Greg Monroe and a host of others.
The Rockets want to keep Parsons — a restricted free agent, meaning Houston can match any offer — but it could come down to money.
And if the Cavaliers strike out on LeBron and he stays with the Heat, the Cavs could throw a lot of it at Parsons, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
Parsons is an incredibly athletic wing player who can hit the three or put the rock on the floor and finish strong at the rim. He understands offensive spacing and how to use it. His defense is a work in process but improving.
If the Cavaliers believe (as they do) that Andrew Wiggins is really a big two guard plugging Parsons at the three, with Kyrie Irving at the point, makes for a very good and interesting lineup. Plus a young one that is improving.
Of course, the Rockets might just match the offer. Remember they have James Harden and Dwight Howard, they won 54 games last year and see themselves as up-and-coming contender in the West. Parsons is part of that vision.
It could depend on what happens with the Rockets efforts to land Chris Bosh or another stretch four (if LeBron chooses Miami Bosh is expected to return with him, at a discount).
UPDATE 11:58 am: If you’re going to have LeBron James on your team you need shooting.
So in addition to making moves to get Ray Allen, the Cavaliers are also talking to Grizzlies free agent Mike Miller, reports Chris Broussard of ESPN. Not coincidentally another former Heat player LeBron liked being paired with.
The question is will all of this matter.
11:20 am: Another sign the Cavaliers are putting together a roster to attract LeBron James:
They are going after Ray Allen, reports Chris Broussard of ESPN.
Allen spent the last couple season in Miami with LeBron, time that is best remembered for the shot that lifted Miami over the Spurs in Game 6 of the 2013 Finals and gave them a shot at a title.
Allen said after the Finals he wasn’t sure he wanted to retire (although that was a consideration) but was only going to play on a contender — he’s only coming to Cleveland if LeBron is.
Allen is still in great shape, he still is a consummate professional and still can knock down the corner three — 57 percent of his shots were from three last season and he hit 37.5 percent from there.
However, Allen’s fading athleticism has made doing things other than shooting — for example defending — difficult. Speaking with him at the Finals he seems frustrated by that.
This move, along with the Jarrett Jack trade to clear out cap space, are the things the Cavaliers want in LeBron’s mind when he sits down with Pat Riley to make a decision on Wednesday.
LeBron James is reportedly down to just two teams where his free agent decision is concerned, and one of them has reportedly agreed to a trade that would clear enough cap space to have the maximum salary available to sign him.
From Marc Stein of ESPN.com:
ESPN sources say Brooklyn Nets on verge of acquiring Jarrett Jack from Cleveland in three-team deal
Boston is third team in deal will acquire Tyler Zeller from Cleveland as well as future first-rounder and Marcus Thornton from Nets
Three-team trade will see Nets acquire Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev from Cleveland. Boston gets Thornton, Zeller and a first
Trade can’t be completed until Thursday, but Cavs on brink of shedding contracts of Jarrett Jack, Tyler Zeller & Sergey Karasev in this deal
Those contracts the Cavaliers are sending out of town total more than $9.5 million for next season, with only Jack’s deal having guaranteed money beyond that in the form of $6.3 million for the year after that. It’s believed that Cleveland made this move purely to have the cap space necessary to sign James, should he indeed decide to leave Miami and return to the Cavaliers.
The Celtics get Thornton from the Nets, who can occasionally score in bunches and is on an expiring contract worth $8.5 million for next season. But their real prizes for facilitating the deal are Zeller, a productive center on a very inexpensive rookie contract, and a future first round pick from the Cavaliers.
Brooklyn, meanwhile, gets a serviceable veteran point guard in Jack who can help ease the pain of losing Shaun Livingston in free agency. Jack averaged 9.5 points and 4.1 assists in 28.2 minutes per contest in Cleveland last season.
But this trade was about Cleveland and its pursuit of LeBron James more than anything else. James is scheduled to meet with Heat president Pat Riley on Wednesday, and this move by the Cavaliers will undoubtedly add an additional layer of intrigue to what was already expected to be an extremely critical conversation.
Carmelo Anthony’s free agent decision was expected to have come already, after narrowing his choices down to the Lakers, Bulls, and of course, the Knicks.
But he’s waited longer than expected, perhaps due to holding out some measure of hope that he could end up teaming with LeBron James in Miami — or maybe even New York.
Yes, the latest report has Anthony dreaming of bringing LeBron to the Knicks — a scenario that is beyond unlikely, for a variety of very good reasons.
From Marc Berman of the New York Post:
According to a friend of Anthony’s, Melo has held out faint hope Knicks president Phil Jackson can pull a miracle and clear out the necessary salary-cap space to get it done, but he is running out of time. Anthony’s decision could come in the next couple of days. …
“He really wants LeBron to come to New York,’’ the source said. “That’s his dream right now. Phil is trying to get it done.’’ …
“He didn’t want no part of New York in 2010,’’ the source said. “But he loves Phil and the chance to play with Melo.’’
To be fair, this piece does lay out just how far-fetched that is, and states pretty clearly that it’s essentially not happening.
The Knicks would have to unload the horrendous contracts of Andrea Bargnani and Amar’e Stoudemire without taking back any salary in return for starters, and then Anthony and James would still need to both take less than the max to somehow make it all work.
Dreams are nice, but reality is what we’re forced to deal with, which is this: Anthony and James ending up as teammates when all of this is said and done isn’t at all likely, and barely even seems possible.
LeBron James’ agent has met with the Lakers, Cavaliers, Rockets, Suns and Mavericks. At least one member of the 76ers is trying to lure LeBron, too.
Of course, LeBron’s current team, the Heat, is also in the mix.
But LeBron might have already thinned the field.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, appearing on Fox Sports Live:
By every source I have, there are just two considerations at this point — and that’s Cleveland and staying in Miami.
This shouldn’t surprise anyone.
The Heat opened free agency as heavy favorites to retain LeBron. He’s repeatedly expressed satisfaction in what Miami has accomplished while he’s played there.
Since, the door has opened, and the Cavaliers get mentioned more and more.
At this point, I’d be pretty surprised if he signs anywhere but Miami or Cleveland. If Wojnarowski actually said that, I’d be shocked if LeBron signs anywhere but Miami or Cleveland.