Jun 15, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) reacts to a call during the first quarter against the San Antonio Spurs in game five of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
The rumor mill is running hot and with it comes loads of NBA news. What are some takeaways from the latest action?
Return to Cleveland Cavaliers good for James on many levels
It is still not a done deal but nearly every rumor mill across the NBA is reasonably sure that LeBron James will make the decision to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Should that be the case, it’s the right call for a number of reasons. James gets to return home where he grew up, gets paid a max contract and joins a promising young core of players including Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins among others. However, he also gets a chance to make amends for his ugly departure from the team in 2010, a move that left a lot of loyal fans in Cleveland very bitter. Returning and winning a championship would mend a lot of fences.
Carmelo Anthony is taking a huge gamble on Knicks return
Nobody can rightfully blame Carmelo Anthony for taking the money. The New York Knicks had more to offer at $129 million and Anthony is a human being after all. He has a family to think about and his life will stretch far beyond his NBA playing days. Still, the decision, if it’s true is a very risky gamble. Anthony has said his goal is to win a championship at this point of his career. Despite his faith in Phil Jackson, the facts are New York is in no position to contend this season and probably next season too. At age 30 Anthony doesn’t have a lot of peak years left. By choosing not to join a contender right away he is limiting the reasonable number of chances he’ll have to get that ring.
Pau Gasol has a better shot at title in Chicago
With the fates of James and Anthony largely decided, veteran power forward Pau Gasol figures to become one of the hot commodities in free agency. A number of teams are in pursuit including the world champion San Antonio Spurs. They would most certainly make an enticing destination for the 34-year old Gasol who is playing for another championship at this point. However, if he’s looking to maximize his chances, then his best bet is to join the Chicago Bulls. Not only do they have a strong roster in place, they can also afford to pay him more than the Spurs. Add in the fact that it gets him into the weaker Eastern Conference and the move makes more sense than any other.
Houston cannot let Chandler Parsons go to Dallas
Meanwhile the Houston Rockets are stuck in the middle of an NBA dilemma. The exit of James to Cleveland would almost certainly land them Chris Bosh whom they made a max contract offer to. At the same time, doing so would put them in a very difficult position regarding restricted free agent Chandler Parsons. Initially most assumed the Rockets would match any offer made to the 25-year old forward, but that became a problem when the Dallas Mavericks made an aggressive push for him with a three-year, $45 million contract.
The Rockets now face a three-day window to match the offer, which means they have three days to work out a sign-and-trade for Bosh or they risk losing him in order to retain Parsons. While that is a tough pill to swallow, Houston must match the offer. Not only does it keep a good player on the roster, but it also keeps a good player away from a key Western Conference rival.