What's going on with LeBron, Love and 'Melo? Let us sort it out for you
JUN 24, 2014 1:00a ET
Get ready for the summer of LeBron, Part Duex.
According to reports, the Heat star is opting out of the final two years of his deal. It is not a completely unexpected move, but it does lead to questions about whether he will stay in Miami.
James addressed the lure of having flexibility last week in his exit interview after the Heat lost to San Antonio in the NBA Finals.
"Being able to have flexibility as a professional, anyone, that's what we all would like," James said last week. "That's in any sport, for a football player, a baseball player, a basketball player, to have flexibility and be able to control your future or your present. I have a position to be able to do that. ... There's a lot of times that you're not in control of your future as a professional."
League sources confirm to @FOXSports1 that LeBron has opted out of his contract.— Bill Reiter (@foxsportsreiter) June 24, 2014
LeBron James will opt-out of deal, source confirms. He's determined to impose pressure on Miami to improve roster and spend, sources say.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 24, 2014
This comes after last week’s passionate press conference from Pat Riley, who said it “takes guts” to stay together.
And it comes just a day after LeBron's wife Savannah sent social media into a tizzy with an Instagram ode to an Akron homecoming.
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh still haven't had sit-down to discuss future together, league sources tell Yahoo. Coming soon.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 24, 2014
More free-agency buzz
• The NBA Draft is less than 72 hours away and the NBA rumor mill is as hot as ever. And in particular, it seems with every passing hour comes a new Kevin Love rumor.
The latest one (as of late Monday, that is) — Chicago is offering two players and two picks for the power forward who can become a free agent after next season.
"The Bulls, who are offering Taj Gibson, Tony Snell plus Nos. 16 and 19, are the latest suitors."
So adding Chicago puts the list oF rumored Love suitors at, what, a quarter of the league? It sure seems that way. Among some of our more favorite reports:
• The former UCLA Bruin will return to the Golden State — OK, Golden State — as part of a three-team trade that makes Love a Warrior, Klay Thompson a Laker and the Timberwolves much heavier on draft picks.
• The Nuggets want Love, along with Kevin Martin, in the Mile High City, and are willing to part with Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler and the No. 11 pick to make it happen.
Now certainly, Love would be an asset to any of the teams mentioned above — or any other NBA team in the market for a talented big man who averaged 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists last season, for that matter. Being that Love is looking to land somewhere that is ready for a deep playoff run, it seems Golden State and Chicago would make the most sense as they both are coming off playoff appearances, but anything is possible with other teams ready to make blockbuster moves before or during Thursday's draft.
If the Bulls' offer doesn't interest Minnesota, the Timberwolves can always hold onto Love in the hopes of persuading him to extend his contract rather than opting out after the upcoming 2014-15 season. But expect it to be difficult for them to keep an All-Star when they have had little to no success as far as the postseason goes since he started his career with them in 2008.
But the NBA's hot stove isn't only simmering in Land of 10,000 Lakes. Here's what else had the NBA abuzz Monday:
• This may not have a ton of impact on the draft, but the latest on Carmelo Anthony, who officially opted out of his Knicks contract and is an unrestricted free agent, is that he will only give certain teams the opportunity to pitch their worthiness to the seven-time All-Star.
Don't worry, Miami. According to the report:
"Teams can't formally contact free agents until 12:01 a.m. ET July 1, but sources told ESPN.com that the Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat are two more teams that could join the race for Anthony, depending on how things play out before, during and after Thursday's NBA draft."
As for guys who have yet to play in the NBA . . .
• Sounds like you can take Joel Embiid's name off the Milwaukee Bucks' draft board. Embiid, considered by most at the likely No. 1 overall pick as recently as a week ago, is now the draft's biggest enigma after his recent foot surgery. The injury, which FOX Sports 1/ Yahoo Sports NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported will require 4-6 months' recovery time, almost certainly will not go No. 1 to Cleveland. And based on the words of co-owner Marc Lasry, it sounds like Milwaukee, owner of the No. 2 overall pick, will be passing on the Kansas big man as well.
• One team that does appear interested in Embiid is Boston, sitting with the No. 6 and 17 picks. The Celtics are reportedly getting to see Embiid's medical records before the draft, one of "only a select number of teams" getting to see the records.
RE: Report out of Utah ... would be bold & thoroughly unexpected departure for Jazz to be willing to surrender Favors on top of lottery pick— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 24, 2014
• One of the more intriguing names in the draft is Croatian forward Dario Saric. Most mocks have him going in the top 12, but expect that to change. ESPN reported on Monday that the 6-foot-10 Saric has agreed to a three-year deal with a team in Turkey. The report said that the deal, two years with a player option for a third, would "essentially prohibit Saric from playing in the NBA for a minimum of two years" — but that does not mean a team cannot take Saric later in the draft and leave him stashed away in Europe for two years. Expect that to happen (after all, ask Tiago Splitter and Toni Kukoc how that plan works).
• And some pretty well-traveled and big-name veterans are making their impact on the draft, as well, as player options take their toll on teams' salary cap space.
Among the names making news with their opt-out decisions on Monday:
• Tim Duncan has decided to opt into to his final year with the Spurs, which was first reported by Wojnarowski. He will make about $10.3 million next season in the final year of a two-year agreement that was drawn up specifically to allow the Spurs the financial flexibility to surround Duncan with top-shelf talent.
We will keep you posted on more NBA rumors as they come in. Stay tuned.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report