Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to team up in Miami

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Thumbnail image for wade_bosh.jpgDwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will team up in Miami to form the core of a team that could contend for a title.

It has looked like things were leaning that way for several days, and the pair went on ESPN Wednesday and confirmed the news.

The pair can sign the deals as soon as tomorrow.

Wade can sign a six-year, $120 million deal for signing with his home team. Bosh wants that same deal but needs Toronto to agree to a sign-and-trade with the Heat. The two sides have discussed this, according to our own Ira Winderman. However, no word of a trade deal has come out yet.

Even if Toronto does not cooperate, Bosh will still sign in Miami, he said. Without the sign-and-trade, he can only sign a five-year deal that will be worth more than $20 million less over the course of the contract. But he would still be in the five year, $100 million range. Which doesn’t suck.

This move blindsided Toronto, according to Winderman. Frankly, that doesn’t speak well of Toronto, many news outlets (this one included) had been saying this is possible if not likely for days now. Everyone else saw this coming.

Could LeBron James join them? Maybe, and more and more rumors are swirling that things are leaning that way.

There had been questions about whether he would want to — while that team with three superstars would be a potential powerhouse, would James be happy going to Wade’s city and Wade’s team for a third of the credit?

However, more and more rumors are swirling that it could come together. Winderman said that as of 10 a.m. Eastern Wednesday, this was still up in the air. In addition, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo tweeted that a team official who pitched LeBron is saying it is down to Cleveland and Miami.

His announcement will come Thursday night in a one-hour television special on ESPN.

To do this, Miami would have to get help from Toronto to have the cap space. In a sign-and-trade deal Toronto would have to take on Michael Beasley and his $5 million a year deal and nothing else to make cap room for the Heat.

If Toronto wants to rebuild without Bosh, they may be better off just taking back picks and gaining the massive trade exception that would come their way.

Winderman (writing for the Sun Sentinel) tweeted this, making it sound like Toronto wants some kind of deal:

Sun Sentinel learned Toronto began having concerns of Bosh signing outright on Tuesday.

Either way, the slashing game of Dwyane Wade paired with the inside game of Chris Bosh gives Miami the best core since Shaquille O’Neal teamed up with Wade. Bosh may even be a better fit with Wade because of the diversity of his game — he can score from the post and has several other spots on the floor, he is one of the best in the league as the big man on the 
pick-and-roll but can also hit the mid-range jumper so you have to respect the pick-and-pop. He’s a good rebounder.

The next question for the Heat is how to build a contender around them. They have almost nobody else on that roster and have many decisions to make around who to put around the duo (and who they can afford to put around them) but the Heat have the core of a championship team again.

Zion Williamson’s attorneys work to avoid him answering questions about improper benefits at Duke

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MIAMI (AP) — Attorneys for NBA rookie Zion Williamson seek to block his former marketing agent’s effort to have the ex-Duke star answer questions about whether he received improper benefits before playing for the Blue Devils.

In a Florida court filing last week, Williamson’s attorneys say those questions are “nothing more than a fishing expedition aimed at tarnishing Williamson’s reputation” and designed to “maximize potential embarrassment and media coverage in an attempt to improperly gain settlement leverage.”

“Plaintiffs’ irrelevant and invasive requests are designed to harass and not calculated to lead to discovery of relevant evidence,” Friday’s filing states.

It is the latest exchange in the fight over the No. 1 overall NBA draft pick’s endorsement potential.

Prime Sports Marketing and company president Gina Ford filed her lawsuit last summer in Florida, accusing Williamson and the agency now representing him of breach of contract. Williamson filed his own lawsuit a week earlier in North Carolina to terminate a five-year contract with Prime Sports after moving to Creative Artists Agency LLC.

Ford’s attorneys had submitted questions this month asking whether the New Orleans Pelicans rookie or anyone on his behalf sought or accepted “money, benefits, favors or things of value” to sign with Duke. Those filings – offering no evidence of wrongdoing by Williamson or his family – sought answers within 30 days to establish facts under oath in the pretrial discovery process.

Williamson’s attorneys seek a stay while appealing the December denial of their motion to dismiss the Florida case based on lack of jurisdiction, or a protective order as an alternative.

At the heart of the dueling lawsuits over Williamson’s marketing rights is this: Williamson says the contract he signed with Prime Sports is illegal under North Carolina’s Uniform Athlete Agent Act (UAAA) because Ford was not registered with North Carolina to negotiate with amateur athletes (which Zion was at the time, having just played for Duke). Ford and Prime dispute that, saying this was a legal and binding negotiation.

One key reason NBA may return with 22 teams: Players want regular-season games

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Nothing is set in stone about an NBA return — at least not until next Thursday — but momentum seems to be building behind a plan that would bring 22 teams to the Orlando bubble.

That plan brings every team within six games of the playoffs when the season was halted into the competition, a total of 22 teams (13 from the West and nine from the East, the playoff teams plus Portland, New Orleans, Sacramento, San Antonio, Phoenix, and Washington). There would be some regular-season games played, likely five to eight, followed by a play-in tournament for the final playoff seeds, then the playoffs with full seven-game series each round. Exactly what that play-in tournament would look and if the NBA would stick with the conference playoff alignment or seed 1-16 is up in the air (although the conference alignment seems to have more backing).

Why that plan? For one, it gets more cities and more fan bases involved — and it happens to bring Zion Williamson and the Pelicans into the mix, a big television draw. It also could help a few teams reach a 70-game broadcast threshold with local broadcasters.

Mostly, however, the players want it because they get some games under them before the playoffs start, something Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne reported on at ESPN.

Regardless of how many teams are ultimately included in the playoffs, the National Basketball Players Association has consistently stressed that it wants several regular-season games to be played prior to the start of the playoffs, sources said. That has been a prevailing sentiment among several contending teams that prefer a tuneup before beginning the postseason, sources said.

A lot of players — influential players — have pushed for some regular season or meaningful games before the playoffs start. It’s about health, as trainers told us at NBC Sports, go from zero to 100 jumping straight into the playoffs and teams are asking for injuries. Players understand that.

Maybe only 20 teams end up in Orlando, that plan is on the table as well, but either way expect some regular-season games before the playoffs start. If the powerful players want it to happen, it will.

PBT Podcast: 2020 NBA Mock Draft crossover podcast, Part Deux

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We’re back at it… and not just drinking beer during a podcast. Although we do that, too.

For the third consecutive season, Rob Dauster of College Basketball Talk and I collaborated for a first-round mock draft. Rob knows the prospects better than anyone; I provide some knowledge about what the teams might be looking for. The result is a unique listening experience breaking down who will be picked where based on fit.

The first ten picks can be found over on the College Basketball Talk feed.

Here we finish off the lottery and run through the entire rest of the first round.

As always, you can check out the podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out the NBC Sports Podcast homepage and archive at Art19.

We want your questions for future podcasts, and your comments, so please email us at PBTpodcast@gmail.com.

LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant make top 10 of Forbes highest-paid athletes list

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LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant make more money off the court in endorsements than they do in salary from their teams. Which is not a surprise.

It’s enough money to vault them into the top 10 of FORBES Magazine’s list of highest-paid athletes for the last year.

LeBron is fifth at $88.2 million, of which $37.4 million is salary (although Forbes lists it as much less). Stephen Curry is sixth at $74.4 million, and Durant is seventh at $69.3 million.

Rounding out basketball players in the top 20 are Russell Westbrook at 12th ($56 million), James Harden at 17th $47.8 million, and Giannis Antetokounmpo at $47.6 million. Overall, 34 NBA players are in the top 100, including rookie Zion Williamson at 57th ($27.3 million).

Tennis legend Roger Federer topped the list at $106.3 million, and he was followed by soccer stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Neymar, before we got to LeBron.

Despite all the work that goes into them, these Forbes estimates have a reputation for being off the mark. That said, it makes for a fun debate and ranking, and we could all use that right now.