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‘Thank you’: Chris Bosh writes an open letter to Miami

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MIAMI (AP) — Chris Bosh has written an open letter to Miami, thanking the city for supporting him for the past seven years.

Bosh published the letter on Sunday, without any mention of his current health or plans for his future. He was waived by the Heat last week, and hasn’t been able to play in an NBA game since February 2016.

Bosh’s career has been interrupted by blood clots; one shut him down at the All-Star break in the 2014-15 season, another shut him down at the All-Star break again a year later. He failed his preseason physical with the Heat last September and missed all of last season, and it is unclear if he will pursue a return to the court elsewhere.

Under league rules , he cannot play for the Heat again.

But in his letter, Bosh chose to reflect more on the good times he had since joining the Heat in 2010 and playing such a huge role in the team going to the NBA Finals in four consecutive seasons and winning two championships.

“I’ve been reflecting on my time in this great city and want to thank you for being a constant during a period of change in my life,” Bosh wrote. “I’ve experienced a few finals appearances, a couple of championships, several weddings (including my own), the birth of four kids, bonding with an entire community and a ton of ups and downs along the way.”

Bosh immersed himself in Miami’s rich Latino culture. He knew some Spanish when he joined the Heat, and he’s learned quite a bit more since, he said – noting that the language skills will be a tool he can use the rest of his life.

“Learning how to order a cafe con leche o ropa vieja on Calle Ocho has become natural to me,” Bosh wrote.

Bosh has played in 13 NBA seasons, seven with Toronto and then six with Miami. He was part of Miami’s massive free-agent haul in 2010, in which the Heat not only kept Dwyane Wade but landed LeBron James to form the core of a superteam. Bosh has averaged 19.2 points and 8.5 rebounds in his career, and the Heat announced they are retiring his No. 1 jersey.

Bosh did not mention blood clots in his letter, but discussed how his six-day hospital stay for the clot and other issues in 2015 still affects his overall perspective.

“And then came not being able to play the game I love, the game that I’ve spent a lifetime working to master and evolve with and find success in,” Bosh wrote. “I was very upset for a long time. They say you just have to play the cards that you’re dealt and that’s another lesson I truly understand now. Learning that information about my health during All-Star Weekend was extremely tough.”

Bosh returned to the game as an analyst for Turner Sports late last season, and there have been talks about him continuing to work in television. He will be paid the remaining $52.1 million from the last two years of his contract, but that money will no longer count against Miami’s salary-cap obligations – and that enabled the team to sign other players to free-agent deals last week.

Even though he has been deemed to have a career-ending condition , Bosh could play again if he chooses to and if a team gives him medical clearance. Getting such clearance would be, at best, daunting.

“I’ve learned how to dream again,” Bosh wrote. “I’ve learned how to appreciate the game of basketball and all the things I’ve experienced even more now. … We went through life together, Miami. You showed me how to stay strong and push through in the toughest moments. And although I didn’t like it at the time, it made all the difference in the long run. It made me a better man, the person I am today. Thank you.”

 

Report: Chris Paul recruiting LeBron James hard to Rockets

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Chris Paul built himself into the NBA’s greatest point guard since Magic Johnson (until Stephen Curry came around). Paul mastered the game, offensively and defensively. He led two franchises, New Orleans and the Clippers, taking huge burdens for each.

Then, he engineered a trade to the Rockets to become James Harden‘s sidekick. Paul learned to excel at that, too.

Now comes phase two in Houston. The Rockets must pay him, and it sounds as if they will. And Paul will recruit his friend LeBron James to join him.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Chris is going to return there. And listen, right now, Chris Paul’s focus isn’t so much on his own free agency. He’s trying to recruit LeBron James to Houston, and somebody close to him said to me he is as focused on recruiting LeBron as anything he’s done in this league. He wants to find a way.

The Rockets were on the cusp of beating the Warriors. LeBron could put Houston over the top and get Paul an elusive championship. I certainly understand Paul’s hunger to make it happen. He’ll probably never get a better opportunity to win a title than this.

Could the Rockets get LeBron? Carmelo Anthony, before getting traded to the Thunder, told friends of a desire to team up with Paul and eventually LeBron in Houston. LeBron once said he’d take a pay cut to play with Paul, Anthony and Dwyane Wade – not that LeBron must to play with just Paul in Houston. The Cavaliers, Rockets and LeBron could execute an opt-in-and-trade that sends LeBron to Houston, similar to how Paul got there last summer.

But it seems Paul is fighting an uphill battle. LeBron reportedly said he doesn’t like Houston as a city, and lifestyle matters.

Not that the intensely competitive Paul will just give up.

Report: Marvin Bagley ‘near-lock’ to Kings at No. 2 in draft

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The Suns will almost certainly take DeAndre Ayton No. 1 overall in Thursday’s NBA draft.

The mystery begins with the Kings at No. 2.

They’ve been linked to Luka Doncic, Michael Porter Jr. and now, most strongly, Marvin Bagley.

Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News:

I wouldn’t like that pick. Bagley is a high-end prospect, but I’d take Doncic (and prefer a few others to Bagley).

Bagley is a phenomenal finisher and rebounder due to his athleticism and exertion. He runs the floor hard and is quick off his feet, repeatedly.

But he is a huge liability as a rim protector, making him a tough fit as a defensive center. His just lacks the awareness, length and strength to defend the paint well. He can improve his awareness and maybe his strength to acceptable levels, but there is such a long way to go.

I also don’t trust his jump shot or defensive awareness on the perimeter enough for him to play power forward offensively or defensively.

Of all the top prospects, Bagley might be the trickiest to build around. And the Kings don’t have the greatest track record of roster building, even in the rare times they get a lottery pick right.

Report: Wizards willing to trade No. 15 pick if team takes on bad contract with it

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The Washington Wizards had the fourth highest payroll in the NBA last season — a lot to pay for the No. 8 seed and an unceremonious first-round playoff exit.

One way or another expect changes to the Wizards’ roster going into next season. Big names could be on the move. Even before that, the Wizards have signaled they will trade the No. 15 pick in Thursday’s draft if teams will take on one of the Wizards’ oversized expiring contracts, reports our old friend Ben Standig working for thesportscapitol.com.

The Wizards are open to trading down from the 15th overall pick in Thursday’s draft if another team takes on one of Washington’s expiring contracts. That’s the message relayed from the Wizards to other NBA teams, a league source tells The Sports Capitol.

The Wizards have five players with expiring contracts, including starters Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris. Gortat’s $13.56 million salary for the 2018-19 season dwarfs the other expiring deals. The hefty figure counts among the reasons why the 34-year-old center is considered a likely trade piece.

This plan is unlikely to work unless the team in question actually wanted one of those players anyway. It is worth the shot.

That said, expect a lot of trades and movement on draft night — that is the buzz around the league. After DeAndre Ayton going No. 1 there is not really a consensus, and some teams have fallen in love with players and are willing to trade up and get them. Teams starting with Sacramento at No. 2 are fielding serious offers for their picks, and a few may jump at them.

The problem is the guys teams love will be off the board by No. 15, which means the Wizards may be making a pick. Which is not a bad thing, they have traded their picks away for years and they could use the injection of youth. Still, they will look to trade this pick too if it helps lessen the burden on their payroll.

Report: Cavaliers flying blind into draft because LeBron doesn’t know what he’s going to do

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The first day we’re going to get a hint of LeBron James‘ plan this summer is June 29 — that’s the date he has to opt into, or out of, the $35.6 million on his contract for next season.

Opt-in and that means either he’s staying with the Cavaliers or there has been an arrangement made to trade him (likely to Houston). Opt- out and he becomes a free agent on July 1 — he could re-sign with the Cavaliers, or he could sign anywhere else for next season.

What LeBron is doing could impact what the Cavaliers do at the NBA draft, keep the No. 8 pick and draft for the future or try to trade it (probably packaged with Kevin Love or another player) to get LeBron more help now.

But LeBron isn’t going to let the Cavaliers know because he himself doesn’t know, reports Joe Varden of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

According to sources, the Cavs’ front office and James’ camp have been in contact over the phone and in person, though there has been no meeting with James present, nor has there been any real dialogue as far as James’ future is concerned.

Because the superstar himself doesn’t know.

The Cavs have been signaling (strongly, in some cases) that they’re looking to upgrade their team from the group that was swept out of the Finals this month, whether James stays or goes.

If LeBron is staying, then the Cavaliers should consider trading that pick to a team eager to land someone still on the board (if Michael Porter Jr. is still available there likely would be plenty of solid offers). However, if he’s going they should use that pick to start the rebuild (and Porter would be a good step that direction).

In reality, the Cavaliers have to act as if LeBron is gone. That was the sense one got being around the team through the playoffs and Finals, that this relationship had run its course. The Cavaliers should draft the best player they can with that pick, unless some team comes through with a killer offer for the slot (and Love plus the No. 8 is not going to land Kawhi Leonard, who the Spurs are not moving that fast to trade anyway). Then, if and when LeBron leaves, start looking at possible trades for Love, Kyle Korver, and every other veteran on the roster. Start the rebuild.

Still, new GM Koby Altman is flying blind on draft night, and LeBron’s not going to help the team out.