- George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Heat and Bulls have morphed into ATMs, with each team dumping salaries and freeing up their rosters to make a run at multiple free agents, all with max contracts. How would you like a Heat lineup with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and James? Or a Chicago lineup with Derrick Rose, James and Bosh? The Heat traded their No. 18 first-round pick and guard Daequan Cook for Oklahoma City’s No. 32 selection in the second round, adding another $3.4 million in added salary-cap space, As it stands, Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers are the only two Heat players who could be under contract when the free agency period begins July 1. And they have cleared more than $45 million in salary cap space. And they have an advantage in signing Wade because of the Larry Bird Exception, which allows teams to exceed the salary cap to re-sign their own free agents up to the player’s maximum salary. [...] Over in Chicago, the Bulls cleared salary cap room by agreeing to trade veteran guard Kirk Hinrich and the 17th pick in the draft to the Washington Wizards on draft night. Chicago now has about $30 million in salary cap space, but doesn’t have to worry about re-signing its superstar Rose. How this shakes out will obviously determine whether there will be a power shift in the league. The Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics could tumble from the top of the charts.”
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, with the help of salary cap expert Larry Coon, writes up a free agency and salary cap primer. Feel free to give it a read.
- Jonathan Abrams of The New York Times shares this tidbit that’s worth sharing: “The LeBron James sweepstakes will kick off in Ohio on his home turf Thursday as five teams — the Chicago Bulls, the Miami Heat, the Knicks, the Nets and the Los Angeles Clippers — travel there in an attempt to woo James away from the Cleveland Cavaliers, an executive of one of the teams in the hunt said Saturday. But the meetings might not be much more than a formality. The executive, who did not want to be identified discussing a player who is not yet a free agent, said he had gathered from discussions with his fellow N.B.A. executives that James was strongly leaning toward joining the Bulls in tandem with another free agent, Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors. “I think it’s a done deal,” the executive said. He said he thought James was going ahead with the meetings in Ohio “to be respectful to all these teams who jumped through these hoops,” a reference to the clubs, like the Knicks, who traded reasonably talented players like Jamal Crawford the last two seasons in an effort to open up as much salary-cap space as possible. But if James and Bosh are indeed going to Chicago, moves like the ones the Knicks made will have been done at least partly in vain.”
- Brett Pollakoff of NBA FanHouse chimes in on Abrams’ report.