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KING JAMES BACK TO THE CAVS — IM HOME

LeBron James is heading back to Cleveland.

The four-time league MVP told SI.com on Friday that he is returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Sources told ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard the deal is expected to be four years for the maximum of $88 million.

 

 

“My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball,” James told SI.com in a first-person essay. “I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.”

For James, it marks a complete turnaround from his original free-agent decision in 2010, when he bolted Cleveland for the Miami Heat, creating a Big Three with Dwyane Wade and Chris Boshthat went on to win two NBA titles in their four years together.

“The hardest thing to leave is what I built with those guys,” James said. “I’ve talked to some of them and will talk to others. Nothing will ever change what we accomplished.”

James informed Wade of his decision, sources told ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst. Bosh, who is out of the country, was informed through his agent, sources said.

 

 

The Heat were in the mix for James again this time around. Team president Pat Riley traveled to Las Vegas to meet with James on Wednesday in an attempt to lure him back to Miami after the All-Star opted out of his contract following the team’s NBA Finals loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

But James said no to Riley and the Heat, instead choosing a Cleveland team that picked him No. 1 overall in the 2003 draft out of St. Vincent-St. Mary, where he starred as a high school player in his native Akron, Ohio.

“Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked,” James told SI.com. “It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can.”

 

 

James spoke with Heat president Pat Riley and owner Micky Arison Friday morning on the phone before James’ first-person essay was posted, sources said. ESPN.com reported incorrectly earlier that the Heat did not know of the decision until it was posted and were not expecting it. The Heat had left their meeting with James earlier this week in Las Vegas feeling good about their chances to retain him, even if it was on a short-term deal.

“I’m not having a press conference or a party,” James said in his essay. “After this, it’s time to get to work.”

The decision certainly was cause for celebration in Cleveland, however. The Cavaliers have been mired in four losing seasons since their trip to the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2010, James’ last year with the team.

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel was one of many fans expressing excitement on social media after receiving the news.

 

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who saw James earlier this week at the LeBron James Skills Academy basketball camp, also commented.

“LeBron has a huge heart,” Krzyzewski told ESPN.com’s Andy Katz. “This decision is a great decision for him because he’s following his heart and he loves his home.”

Nike, James’ biggest endorser, released a statement that said: “Like basketball fans around the globe, we are excited to support one of the world’s greatest athletes as he enters the next chapter of his career. We look forward to seeing LeBron step back on the court in Cleveland.”

In the days leading up to LeBron’s decision, much was made of the infamous letter that Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert had issued in the wake of James’ departure in 2010, calling James a “coward” for leaving. James addressed the letter in his essay.

“I’ve met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man. We’ve talked it out,” James said. “Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?”

Gilbert weighed in himself on Twitter minutes after James’ announcement.

 

“I’m thrilled with the news,” new Cavaliers coach David Blatt told ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman. “It’s exciting for the team, the state and for basketball. Life is full of surprises.”

Reaction to James’ decision was decidedly different in Miami than in Cleveland. Arison expressed disappointment on Twitter shortly after James’ announcement.

 

James, Bosh and Wade all exercised options in their contracts to become free agents this summer, but the thinking was that they would redo their deals to give the team financial flexibility in an effort to upgrade the roster.

Now, the future is uncertain in Miami. Sources confirmed to ESPN.com that Bosh is finalizing an agreement to return to the Heat on a five-year, $118 million deal after weighing a maximum-contract offer from  the Houston Rockets. The team also is making a push to re-sign Wade. Aside from Bosh and Wade, the Heat currently have just four players who will be under guaranteed contract for next season.

James has spoken with former Heat teammate and free-agent forward Mike Miller about joining him in Cleveland, a source told ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst.

 

 

 

James spent seven seasons with the Cavaliers, averaging 27.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists and leading them in 2007 to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Spurs. The goal for him now will be to get there again with a Cleveland team that boasts All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving and former Kansas star Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 pick in last month’s NBA draft.

Of Irving and James, Krzyzewski told Katz: “That will be a great, great duo … LeBron is a brilliant player and Kyrie is really smart, two players with great knowledge of the game and understanding of the game.”

James said he knows how hard it is to win a championship and that he is “realistic” about the team’s hopes next season — but optimistic.

“My patience will get tested. I know that,” James said. “I’m going into a situation with a young team and a new coach. I will be the old head. But I get a thrill out of bringing a group together and helping them reach a place they didn’t know they could go. I see myself as a mentor now and I’m excited to lead some of these talented young guys.”

Las Vegas sports books quickly adjusted their odds to win the 2015 championship. The Las Vegas Superbook made the Cavs the outright favorites at 3-1, while dropping the Heat’s odds all the way down to 100-1. The MGM moved the Cavs down to 7-2, co-favorites with the Spurs. William Hill and the Wynn sports books both moved the Cavs to 9-2.

Two months ago, the Cavaliers could be found as high as 60-1 to win the title, but money poured in over the last three weeks after James opted out of his contract with Miami. While the majority of wagers were small in size, the MGM, Nevada’s largest sports book, told ESPN.com that it took a $1,000 bet on the Cavs at 40-1. Sports book operator CG Technology said it took “some higher dollar amounts from respected guys” on the Cavs at 30-1.

ESPN.com’s Darren Rovell reported that the Cavaliers have confirmed they are not raising season-ticket prices in the wake of the news. The team sold $1 million in ticket sales on Wednesday on speculation alone, a source told Rovell.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

NBA Free Agent race for a better year

The 2014 free-agency period hasn’t had the fireworks or instant gratification of past years, as it seems like every major player and team is waiting to see whatLeBron James will do and the domino effect that will have on the market.

In some ways, James will set the market for everyone else because his choice can change the landscape of the league. While we know that James is absolutely worth the max and that his price won’t change unless he decides to take less, the future of multiple teams and marquee players can be impacted by his decision.

Even with that being the case, we can reasonably predict the price range and set the market for the remaining 2014 free agents based on what we’ve seen so far. Jodie Meeks signing with the Detroit Pistons for more than the mid-level exception certainly set a market for shooters, and Kyle Lowry’s deal worth $12 million a season established the price range for near-max unrestricted free agents. 

Using the salaries of players already signed and existing contracts throughout the league, let’s set the market for the best remaining 2014 free agents according to category of player. 

It’s important to remember that all max contracts are not created equal, as players who have been in the league longer and are coming off old deals under the last collective bargaining agreement can make substantially more than players coming off their rookie deals.

Basically, someone like Greg Monroe can get the “max” and Carmelo Anthony can get the “max,” and their annual salaries can still be around $6 million apart. 

For this offseason, there are only three unrestricted veteran free agents who should receive a max offer: LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh.

Realistically, Dirk Nowitzki could have joined that group, but he instead decided to take much less money to help Dallas retain cap space to bring talent around him. Nowitzki’s three-year deal worth $30 million is one of the best bargains we’ve seen in a while.

According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com, James wants a max salary this offseason:

LeBron James will have a completely different process and a different priority when he opens his free agency at 12:01 a.m. ET Tuesday than he did in 2010, sources told ESPN.com.

Teams that contact James will be informed that he wants no less than the maximum salary number for next season, sources said. The max number for James is projected to be about $20.7 million.

Both Bosh and Anthony should land max deals either with their current teams or elsewhere. If James returns to Miami, Bosh will likely have to take less than his full max, unless Dwyane Wade takes a massive pay cut to to compensate for both deals. 

Anthony could potentially take a little less, but if no one is joining him immediately in New York or he’s not leaving money on the table for another free-agent acquisition elsewhere, there’s probably little incentive for him to do so. It is important to note his stated priorities, however.

“My concern is to be able to compete on a high level, a championship level, coming in this last stretch of my career,” Anthony said on SportsCenter in February, via ESPN New York. “I want to compete at that level.”

LeBron and Melo are the best bets to receive the most money possible, while Bosh’s deal will almost certainly depend on what LeBron does.

Here’s where the big surprises in free agency will likely come from.

Pegging how much restricted free agents can land is often difficult, as sometimes they don’t get offer sheets from other teams and instead negotiate with the team that holds their rights exclusively.

That’s what happened with Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley, who, according to Baxter Holmes of TheBoston Globe, signed a four-year deal worth $32 million.

Bradley came with an expensive price tag, but that’s nothing compared to what some of the big restricted free agents should make.

Greg Monroe is still a candidate for a max offer, as David Aldridge at NBA.com explained earlier this year: “The problem, as the Pistons knew last fall, is that Monroe’s agent is David Falk. He has gotten the price he said he’d get for his clients for two decades—and he says the price for Monroe will be a max contract.”

With no other viable franchise big man on the market other than Bosh, Monroe should get the max once a few other pieces fall in place.

He won’t be the only restricted free agent to get that, though.

Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe should receive a max offer sheet somewhere, as Phoenix isn’t likely to negotiate with him unnecessarily while there are still players like James and Anthony out there who could potentially sign with cap space.

Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward didn’t seem quite as likely to receive the full max, but Rick Bonnell of theCharlotte Observer reported on July 8 that he got just such an offer from the Charlotte Hornets. Now, it’ll be up to the Jazz to make a decision on whether to match.

Bledsoe and Monroe should both get max deals, and there’s a chance Hayward does as well. No other restricted free agent has a good shot, though I wouldn’t be shocked if Parsons received one.   

Hornets News – Pat Delany as an assistant coach on the staff of Head Coach Steve Clifford

July 9, 2014 – Charlotte Hornets General Manager Rich Cho announced today that the team has added Pat Delany as an assistant coach on the staff of Head Coach Steve Clifford.

Delany joins the Hornets after spending last season as head coach of the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the NBA D-League affiliate of the Miami Heat.  In his first head coaching job, Delany led the team to a 31-19 record, which was tied for the second-best record in the D-League.  The .620 winning percentage was the fifth-best in the franchise’s 25-year history and the second-best in its eight seasons in the D-League.

Prior to being named head coach of the Skyforce, Delany served as the Heat’s advance scout for six seasons from 2007-13. He also served as the team’s video coordinator for four seasons from 2003-07 following one season as a video intern.

Chicago Bulls Make Hard Pitch to Carmelo Anthony

The Chicago Bulls are making the hard sell for Carmelo Anthony.

The Knicks superstar free agent arrived at a decked-out United Center on Tuesday in a limobus with coach Tom Thibodeau and two other people, a police SUV trailing behind.

Anthony walked past the Michael Jordan statue, waving to a small group of cheering fans as he went inside.

The Bulls believe they have a strong pitch and a simple selling point: Anthony can transform a playoff team into a championship contender.

They believe uniting Anthony with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, who arrived earlier at the arena, would put them in position to contend for their first title since Jordan and Scottie Pippen led the way to two three-peats in the 1990s. And they certainly made their feelings clear on Tuesday, turning the arena into one giant welcome mat.

Two giant digital images above the entrance on Madison Street showed Anthony in a Bulls No. 7 jersey dribbling next to a championship trophy, fans stopping to take pictures. Another image around the corner also showed him in a jersey dribbling.

Signs wrapping around corners of the building and stacked on top of each other read, “Carmelo Anthony and Chicago basketball” and “Melo” with a cropped Bulls logo.

Still, Anthony is a top target in NBA free agency and he is expected to visit other teams.

Dwyane Wade opts out of contract, becomes free agent

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In a mild surprise, the Heat’s star wing will leave two years and $41 million on the table to become a free agent.

Dwyane Wade has exercised the early termination clause in his contract, becoming a free agent alongside LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, according to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press.

Wade was slated to make $41 million over the next two years, but elected to become a free agent even though his game is in clear decline. The hope is that he can sign a long-term contract, presumably at a lower annual figure.

Wade only played in 54 regular-season games in 2013-14, battling through various injuries and getting rest throughout the campaign. The former Marquette star averaged 19 points per game, the lowest number since Wade’s rookie season in 2003-04 when he scored 16.2 points per night. Wade’s rebounding was also down to to 4.5, his lowest since 2007-08.

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In the NBA Finals, Wade suffered through a nightmare of a series. He averaged 15 points per game and shot just 7-of-25 over the last two games.

Wade’s departure opens up a huge chunk of Miami’s salary cap. With a $20.1 million salary for 2014-15 and a $21.6 million option for 2015-16 off the books, the Heat have ample room to bring back both James and Wade, perhaps at a much lower cap figure.

By opening up money, general manager Pat Riley can add better depth and role players after being demolished by the San Antonio Spurs. Should Chris Bosh also opt out and forfeit his $20.6 million number, Miami suddenly has the most cap space in the NBA.

Wade will turn 33 years old in January and is likely looking for his last substantial contract.

Report: Bulls’ Derrick Rose prefers Kevin Love to Carmelo Anthony

It seems more and more likely that the Bulls will be heavily in the mix to add a superstar talent via trade or free agency this summer.

Carmelo Anthony may be highest on their list, given that Chicago can sign him outright once he opts out of the final year of his Knicks contract to become an unrestricted free agent. But Kevin Love is probably not too far behind, even though the Bulls would need to acquire him via trade, which could prove tricky if they want to keep the key pieces already in place.

Derrick Rose is expected to be 100 percent to start next season, and his presence is one of many factors which make the Bulls such a desirable destination. And he reportedly has a preference in which superstar he’d like to see added to his team’s roster.

From Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News:

According to sources close to Kevin Love, Rose’s preference is for the Bulls to work out a deal as soon as possible for Minnesota’s All-Star forward because he sees Love as more of a team player than Anthony. Chicago is in the mix with Golden State for Love, with Boston and Denver considered long shots. If it makes any difference to Melo, Rose has no plans to recruit Love, who is free next summer, either. But the Bulls already know whom he’d really prefer to play with in the future.

Every player in the league would have a preference if asked who they’d like to play alongside with. It doesn’t mean, however, that they wouldn’t welcome the opportunity to play with a whole host of talented, proven stars.

The Bulls won’t be consulting Rose on any of their roster moves this summer, and will do what makes the most sense to set the team up for long-term success. If that means clearing the cap space necessary to sign Anthony outright — leaving the team’s core intact so it could immediately contend for a title — something tells me that Rose wouldn’t have an issue with that decision.

Carmelo Anthony race to Chicago

Carmelo Anthony has yet to publicly reveal the process by which he plans to entertain other teams in free agency now that he has opted out of his contract with the New York Knicks, but the Chicago BullsHouston RocketsDallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers are among the teams that expect to have the opportunity to make their pitch to him starting July 1, according to sources close to the situation.

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.

The Bulls are widely regarded as the early favorite to steal Anthony from the Knicks, with sources saying Monday that Chicago has been quietly planning for this free-agent pursuit for months, going back to the January trade of Luol Deng to Cleveland. Sources say every move Chicago made during the season’s second half — including the seemingly minor signings of veterans Ronnie BrewerLou Amundson and Mike James to very tradeable contracts — was made with the hope they might be helpful in a potential sign-and-trade with the Knicks for Anthony.

 

 

Sources say the Rockets, meanwhile, have begun working on trade exits for center Omer Asik and point guard Jeremy Lin to clear enough space under the salary cap to make a representative offer to Anthony. The Rockets have been confident for some time, sources say, that they can not only move both players if necessary in deals that create the requisite flexibility but also rival the Bulls’ sales pitch.

The Lakers are in the advantageous position of having enough room under the salary cap to make a maximum offer to Anthony without having to clear any salary, but it is believed Anthony would want them to strengthen their roster before he would seriously consider a move to L.A. Sources say the Lakers, to that end, have been exploring their options with the No. 7 pick in Thursday’s draft and have told teams they are prepared to package the pick with the expiring contract of Steve Nash (owed $9.7 million next season) for the right offer.

ESPNDallas.com reported Sunday that the Mavericks, armed with plenty of cap space themselves, likewise expect to be granted a face-to-face sit-down with Anthony. Yet Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki, who also is bound for free agency July 1, has acknowledged that the Bulls and Rockets have better odds of prying Anthony out of New York, labeling Dallas’ chances “not really” realistic.

Earlier this month, ESPN.com reported the Heat had begun internal discussions about pursuing the former scoring champion to try to grow their Big Three into a Big Four, but the Heat could pursue Anthony only if LeBron JamesChris Bosh and Dwyane Wade opt out of their current deals later this week and are willing to take less money to re-sign and play alongside Anthony. Heat president Pat Riley has since confirmed the club has pondered pursuing Anthony but conceded the scenario is a “pipe dream” given the financial complexities involved.

The Hawks would have to clear approximately $10 million to $12 million in salary-cap space to pursue Anthony, but sources indicate that is one of the many options Atlanta is considering, making it a sleeper team to watch.

Anthony is eligible to sign a maximum contract worth $129 million over the next five seasons with the Knicks. A max deal with a new team is $96 million over four years.

“Carmelo loves being a Knick, he loves the city and he loves the fans,” Leon Rose, Anthony’s agent, said Monday. “At this stage of his career, he just wants to explore his options.”

In an online interview that aired Monday, Anthony said uprooting his family to another city could not be dismissed as a factor amid the rising speculation about the Bulls’ desire to team him with Derrick RoseJoakim Noah and hard-driving coach Tom Thibodeau.

In the interview with Vice Sports taped June 3, Anthony said: “The average person just sees the opportunity to say that, ‘Oh, Melo should go here, Melo should go there. I think he should do this, I think he should do that.’ But they don’t take into consideration the family aspect of it. Your livelihood. Where you’re going to be living at. Do you want your kids to grow up in that place? In that city? Do I want to spend the rest of my career in that situation in that city? So all of that stuff comes into play.

 

 

 

“My son goes to school [in New York]. He loves it here. To take him out and take him somewhere else, he has to learn that system all over again, he has to get new friends. And I know how hard it was for me when I moved from New York to Baltimore at a young age. Having to work your way to try to make friends.

“As far as this goes, basketball goes, it’s hard to just say, ‘OK, I’m going to go here, I’m going to make this decision, I’m going to do that.’ Because everybody’s affected by that.”

New Knicks president Phil Jackson tried for weeks to convince Anthony to opt in for the final season on his current contract and delay his free agency until the summer of 2015. But Anthony maintained all season that he intended to become a free agent this summer and, according to a report last week from ESPN New York’s Ian Begley, already has begun researching the city of Chicago.

Thibodeau, meanwhile, has reached out to some of Anthony’s former coaches to inquire about the seven-time All-Star, according to a recent report in the Chicago Sun-Times. And ESPN.com reported in March that Anthony and Noah talked about playing under Thibodeau during the All-Star break in a conversation that turned into a recruiting pitch from Noah to Anthony.

Jackson said late last month that he’s “not losing sleep” over Anthony’s free agency but is “definitely concerned” about the idea of Anthony signing elsewhere. Anthony has said publicly that he would like to stay in New York but also wants to be in position to win an NBA championship.

The Knicks are coming off a 37-45 season under the fired Mike Woodson and don’t have salary-cap space to seriously retool the roster around Anthony until the summer of 2015.

Information from ESPNNewYork.com’s Ian Begley and ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst was used in this report.

LeBron James Reportedly Opts to Become Free Agent: Latest Details, Reaction

LeBron James Reportedly Opts to Become Free Agent: Latest Details, Reaction

 

Break out your “take my talents” jokes from 2010. LeBron James reportedly has exercised his early termination option for the 2014-15 NBA season and will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

ESPN’s Chris Broussard reports Rich Paul, LeBron James’ agent, has informed the Heat of his client’s decision:

 

 

Bleacher Report’s Ethan Skolnick has more insight into the decision:

 

 

CNN’s Rachel Nichols notes that things are going to get crazy with James hitting the open market:

 

 

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated notes that the decision to opt out was a tactical one:

 

 

Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press reports that James has no idea where he’ll wind up:

 

 

The Miami Heat forward was due $20.59 million for next season, which could have been his fifth with the club. James’ six-year, $109.83 million contract carried early termination options for both the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.

Speculation about James’ potential departure has run rampant for much of the season. Almost half the league will have significant cap space this summer, most notably the Los Angeles Lakers. James will lead a free-agent class that also includes friend Carmelo Anthony, though it’s far more surprising to see the four-time NBA MVP’s name on the open market.

 

“At this point, I can’t,” James told NBATV in February, when asked if he could see himself leaving the Heat. “At this point, I can’t. We don’t know what can happen from now to July, so what I’ve been able to do this whole season to this point is just worry about what’s at hand, and that’s winning another championship.”

While understandably worrisome, James opting out far from ends his Heat career. Under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, Miami can offer him a five-year maximum deal worth roughly $115 million. Other teams are limited to a four-year pact maxing out at $85 million. That $30 million can make all the difference for even someone of James’ financial means.

Opting out merely allows James to assess his options.

Dwyane Wade‘s prime has either already been passed, or close to it.Chris Bosh has disappeared in three consecutive postseasons against the Indiana Pacers, and he turned 30 in March. Both have the same ETO as James.

Ray Allen turns 39 in July and is hitting free agency, Shane Battier is retiring, and Mario Chalmers can walk this summer. Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen each have player options, though it’d be a surprise to see either opt out.

There are a ton of moving components here, each of which will have to be solved by Pat Riley.

The Heat, despite their aging roster and noticeable foibles, have won two NBA championships and gone to four straight Finals over the past four seasons. It would have been an historical anomaly to see James walk away at the pinnacle of an ongoing dynasty. But Riley needs to provide James with a cogent plan on how to rebuild the talent surrounding the Big Three. Miami is well over the projected salary cap if you include cap holds, and it’s nearing the dreaded repeater tax bracket.

Given the Heat amnestied Finals hero Mike Miller to reduce their tax last summer, this is no longer the no-brainer situation James walked into.

There is also an underlying financial component.

James is risking his long-term earning power and maximizing it. His five-year max, had he opted into the 2014-15 season, would have been roughly $123 million. He’d be 35 by the end of his next five-year contract, an age at which not many players (Kobe Bryant exceptions aside) are handed massive paydays. Analytically speaking (per wagesofwins.com), ages 34 and 35 feature among the biggest drops inexpected performance.

Should James leave now, his four-year deal would end at age 33. He might even be able to force a third-year player option, which maximizes his potential of procuring max-level money into his late 30s. Doing so also means leaving $30 million guaranteed on the table.

 

 

There is a loyalty factor to consider as well. The biggest draw to Miami beyond winning has been the familial atmosphere Riley has cultivated. As Dan Le Batard of the Miami Herald wrote in April, James may have played close to home when in Cleveland, but he never felt at “home” until he signed with the Heat. Beginning with the Big Three and on down the line through Riley and owner Micky Arison, these guys like each other.

But, as we saw in “The Decision” era, he is also a pragmatist. James spurned his hometown and engulfed his public reputation in flames to win in Miami. He’s older and more comfortable with his all-time standing now, yet James is understandingly unwilling to play out the remainder of his prime in mediocrity.

There were already ever-so-slight signs of slippage. Though he averaged his customary 27.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 6.4 assists, James was downright bad defensively at times last season. His effort waxed and waned, his rotations were sloppy, and there were countless moments when he’d eschew transition defense entirely to complain about a missed call.

Those are signs of the incredible wear James has put on his body these last few seasons. No player on the planet has played more minutes since the 2010-11 season, and only Kevin Durant is remotely close. With Wade breaking down, James might be reading the tea leaves and looking to repeat history—a situation where he can be The Man without having to carry the entire load.

Or he could just be looking for a fat new contract. Either way, Riley and Co. officially have their work cut out for them.

HORNETS NAME STEVE HETZEL ASSISTANT COACH

June 18, 2014 – Charlotte Hornets General Manager Rich Cho announced today that the team has added Steve Hetzel as an assistant coach on the staff of Head Coach Steve Clifford.

 

Hetzel joins the Hornets after spending last season as head coach of the Canton Charge in the NBA D-League.  Under Hetzel’s leadership, the Charge posted a 28-22 record, finishing second in the East Division and earning the seventh seed in the D-League playoffs.

 

Before moving to Canton, Hetzel spent four seasons with the Detroit Pistons as player development coach, where he was responsible for identifying the strengths and weaknesses of individual players and assisting with their growth throughout the season.  Prior to joining the Pistons, Hetzel served as video coordinator for the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2006-09.  He got his start in the NBA as assistant video coordinator with the San Antonio Spurs in 2005-06.

 

Hornets Sports & Entertainment owns the Charlotte Hornets and operates Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena.

 

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