Tag: Miami Heat

Lebrion James, Dwyane Wade

LeBron, Wade had dinner together before going to a club Monday night in Vegas


As we patiently await the decisions of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in free agency, it’s worth looking anywhere we can for clues on what the future may hold.

On Monday night, Las Vegas was the scene that provided us with a new set of tea leaves to pore over where the future of the Heat is concerned. And depending on how you choose to read them, the events could be viewed as a positive sign for LeBron returning to Miami.

From Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports:

LeBron James & Dwyane Wade had dinner at LAVO in Vegas late last night with some friends before going to Marquee Night Club, a source said.

A spokesperson from LAVO told PBT:

They were joined by a large group of friends from Miami and Cleveland. James and Wade enjoyed items from the LAVO menu such as sea bass, steak and grilled vegetables but stuck to their strict off season paleo diet.

We know: Extremely riveting stuff.

As we mentioned in discussing the latest pretend scenario, where Anthony may be waiting out Chris Bosh to see if a spot opens up for him on a fictional Heat roster,  it isn’t as though the players aren’t talking amongst themselves about these decisions, and doing so far more regularly than is reported to the masses.

James is reportedly set to meet with Heat president Pat Riley in Vegas as early as Tuesday, and beyond that, is in town for his Nike Elite Youth Basketball Skills Academy, which takes place from the 9th to the 12th.

The reason for Wade’s presence isn’t as clear, though it seems reasonable to speculate that he, too will be meeting with Riley and/or James more formally this week.

All of this could mean a Heat reunion is in the works, or it could just as easily have been a night out between two friends who have already played their last game together as teammates. No one knows; it’s merely another piece of information to chew on as we continue to wait for some concrete answers.

LeBron to Cleveland rumors have bettors putting money on Cavs to win it all next season (and Vegas backtracking)

Detroit Pistons v Cleveland Cavaliers

Winning at sports gambling is about taking smart risks, ones that could pay off with a nice reward. Find the good odds where you think the bookmakers (or the betting public pushing them) is off target then jump on it.

After the NBA Finals last season, when future bet odds on next season’s NBA champion came out, the Cleveland Cavaliers were between 40-1 and 60-1, depending on where you looked. Then the LeBron James return to Cleveland rumors started picking up steam — and gamblers saw the value and started putting money on the Cavs while the odds were still high.

Doesn’t matter that LeBron has yet to make a decision (and the Heat remain confident), and it doesn’t matter that if LeBron picks Cleveland that is a young, untested team that may not be able to win it all year one. LeBron instantly makes any team a contender and if you can place money on a potential contender at long odds, it’s worth the risk.

People did, particularly fans (these tend not to be large, professional bets), and Vegas is freaking out just a little, as David Purdum wrote for ESPN.

More bets have been placed on the Cleveland Cavaliers to win the 2015 NBA title than on any other team at the Las Vegas Superbook.

“They are our biggest liability right now,” said MGM VP of Race and Sports Jay Rood. “We took a dime ($1,000) on them at 40-1.”

The Cavs are currently down to 10-1 at the MGM.

For bookmakers, sports gambling is about covering their risks, and the Cavs have become a risk to cost them money.

You can find the odds now and place a bet at online casinos as well as some spots in Vegas, although a number of casinos have taken down NBA futures betting until free agency plays out (some casinos, such as the Wynn, have had that as their policy for years).

If LeBron jumps to Cleveland, the Cavs still are not likely to be favorited against the best of the West (and maybe Chicago, depending upon who they do or do not land in free agency). That according to Las Vegas Superbook assistant manager and head NBA oddsmaker Jeff Sherman, speaking in that same ESPN piece.

If James were return to Cleveland, where he spent the first seven seasons of his NBA career, Sherman said he would adjust the Cavs’ odds to around 8-1.

“They are such a young team,” Sherman said of the Cavaliers. “They would be better positioned for the next season than this upcoming one.”

Report: Danny Ainge still working on trade to bring Kevin Love to Celtics

Kevin Love

It’s been all quiet on the Kevin Love front as of late, after things got very close between the Timberwolves and the Warriors that would have sent the All-Star big man to Golden State.

Once the draft came and went, teams that possessed picks no longer had them to use in a potential trade, and with the majority of the teams most likely to be players for Love holding their collective breath on a decision from LeBron James and/or Carmelo Anthony, talks have slowed for good reason.

But one team with assets is holding out hope, and its GM is still reportedly working on setting things up to put a possible trade for Love into motion.

From Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe:

However, a league source said Monday that president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is attempting to gather assets to acquire Kevin Love, convinced he can devise a package that would entice Minnesota Timberwolves president Flip Saunders to move the three-time All-Star, who will be a free agent next season. …

According to two NBA sources, Ainge has been dogged in his pursuit of Love, and several agents believe he has the creativity to put together an attractive package.

The Celtics are essentially out of salary cap space, but they do have a $10.2 million trade exception from the Paul Pierce deal they have to use by Saturday. They also have potentially talented rookie James Young to offer in a deal. While Young was ruled out of summer league with a neck injury, there was speculation the Celtics are keeping him on ice in case of a potential deal.

It’s unclear what the Timberwolves would demand in return. Rajon Rondo is constantly involved in trade rumors, but Boston would probably like to pair him with Love if something like that were to be possible.

A more likely scenario would involve a multitude of future draft picks heading to Minnesota, along with perhaps some young talent in the form of guys like Jared Sullinger or Kelly Olynyk.

The advantage the Celtics have here is that they aren’t going to be trying to sign free agents this summer, and will likely be there as a trade partner even if deals with Love’s other preferred suitors like Chicago or Golden State never come to fruition. Love would still have to agree to sign long-term in Boston (or anywhere he may be traded) because he’ll be an unrestricted free agent next summer, and no one is going to give up legitimate assets in trade for someone who could simply bolt at the end of the season.

Lakers free agency plans holding up the signing of Julius Randle

Julius Randle

The good news as far as the Lakers first round draft pick is concerned is that he’s fully healthy, and won’t require any offseason surgery.

The bad news is that L.A.’s free agent plans are holding up the signing of his contract, which may delay his ability to play for the team at Summer League in Las Vegas.

Julius Randle was selected by the Lakers with the seventh overall pick in the draft, and for the most part, the rookie-scale salary that goes along with that designation is determined by the collective bargaining agreement. But there is a small amount of wiggle room, and the Lakers are keeping it for now as they wait to see who might be available to them as free agency unfolds.

From Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles:

Rookie Julius Randle, medically cleared by a foot specialist last week to play on his right foot without any further surgical procedures, is waiting to sign his contract before he can participate in the summer league games.

“We’ll see,” Randle said when asked if he would be suiting up for the Lakers first game against the Toronto Raptors on Friday. “It’s kind of really out of my hands right now. I’m ready to play whenever, but it’s not really in my hands right now.”

The Lakers, of course, are waiting to actually ink Randle to his rookie deal as long as they are pursuing Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James, because they want to keep as much cap space open as possible to facilitate the deals.

Randle currently has a cap hold of $2.497,800, which is money set aside for him that can’t be offered to say, Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James (or anyone else) in free agency. But teams can sign their first round picks for up to 120 percent of that amount, and they usually do, especially for those players chosen in Randle’s spot.

The maximum amount Randle could receive is $2,997,360 — a difference of almost $500,000 that the Lakers may very well need to sign someone else.

L.A. is waiting on free agency, which obviously makes sense given the current state of the franchise. But it could end up costing Randle in one form or another — either on the contract side, or in terms of valuable time that could be spent getting his game NBA-ready in Vegas.

Report: Heat inquired about adding Pacers’ Lance Stephenson

Heat's James and Pacers' Stephenson prepare to play during the fourth quarter in Game 4 of their NBA Eastern Conference Final basketball playoff series in Indianapolis

The Heat finally made some additions to the roster on Monday in free agency, but the signings were somewhat underwhelming to those outside the Miami market.

A target that the Heat weren’t able to acquire but attempted to is likely to be of far more interest.

You may remember Lance Stephenson of the Pacers, who engaged in all kinds of non-basketball nonsense against the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, which included blowing in the ear of LeBron James and, at one, point, smacking him in the face during a dead ball situation.

Those antics didn’t exactly endear Stephenson to the Miami fan base or the team’s players, but desperate times call for desperate measures — and apparently, the Heat reached out and made an inquiry to see about adding him to the roster.

From Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report:

And they’ve even tried to entice some talents you wouldn’t expect, such as Pacers’ agitator Lance Stephenson.

That report, from ESPN’s Dan LeBatard, may have surprised some, considering that James, Wade, Bosh and the rest of the Heat became weary of what Ray Allen labeled “buffoonery” during the recent Eastern Conference finals. But it shouldn’t, if you know how strongly James feels about simply adding talent that can assist his championship aspirations, even if it comes with some attitude.

Interestingly enough, the players the Heat did add — Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger — each have had dust-ups with the Heat in the past.

Stephenson is in no rush to get a deal done, even though the dollars are dwindling in Indiana and the Pacers may not have even their initial offer of five years and $44 million anymore that Stephenson already rejected. But he will have offers from other teams in that range or beyond once the bigger names begin to come off the market, and for that reason, Miami was never a real option, despite the team’s reported level of interest.