NBA Free Agency Rumors: Latest Info on Hot Names Potentially Hitting Open Market

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIJune 20, 2014

Miami Heat small forward LeBron James, left, and New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) are shown during an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks in Miami, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Alan Diaz/Associated Press

Leading into the offseason, most of the talk has been about the New York Knicks Carmelo Anthony. However, if the Miami Heat's LeBron James opts out of his contract, the summer—at least the beginning of it—will be all about the King.

The mere thought that James might be available has teams buzzing.

The Houston Rockets are reportedly prepared to come after LeBron with everything they have. Per B/R's Howard Beck:

"League sources say that Houston is preparing to make an all-out push to land James when free agency opens on July 1, assuming James opts out, as expected. If the Rockets miss out on James, they will turn their full attention to Carmelo Anthony. Chris Bosh is also on the radar."

If you've ever seen basketball in your life, no one needs to tell you how dynamic a team with James Harden, Dwight Howard and James could be.

Anything less than a 66-win season and a championship would be considered an epic failure.

That said, there's seemingly no real connection to Houston for LeBron, aside from the possibilities to win in a major way. We'll see if that's enough.


Melo is Still a Prize

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Melo is leaning toward opting out of his deal with the Knicks. The Rockets aren't the only team interested in bringing him to town—unless of course James gives them the time of day.

Per Wojnarowski:

"New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony is leaning toward leaving in pursuit of immediate championship contention, and awaits the Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets to clear the necessary salary-cap space to sign him in free agency, league sources told Yahoo Sports."

If you're a Knicks and Melo fan, you'll hate what CBS New York's John Schmeelk had to say about the situation.

"Carmelo Anthony is not going to be a Knick next year. I know it’s a hard pill for many Knicks and Melo fans to swallow, but it’s inevitable."

That might be a bold statement, but it's beginning to sound prophetic.

The Bulls have long been considered the best fit for Anthony. Chicago badly needs a big-time scorer, and there aren't many, if any, in the NBA better than Melo.

The question is: How much is Anthony willing to take, and how much can the Bulls afford to offer him? 

Per ESPN New York, Anthony said this earlier in the year:

"As far as the money, it don't really matter to me. If I go somewhere else, I get paid. If I stay in New York, I get paid. As far as the money goes, it's not my concern."

That should be music to the ears of the decision makers in Chicago. The Bulls will have to make a few roster moves to sign him, and Melo must be willing to take a little less than a max deal, but it looks like the most logical scenario if he chooses to bolt the Big Apple.


Heat and Kyle Lowry Like Each Other

TORONTO, CANADA - MARCH 17:  Kyle Lowry #3 of the Toronto Raptors drives up court during the game between the Toronto Raptors and the Miami Heat on March 17, 2013 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowle
Ron Turenne/Getty Images

Toronto Raptors free-agent guard Kyle Lowry is said to fancy the Heat, and the feeling is mutual per ESPN's Brian Windhorst

Lowry averaged 17.4 points and 7.4 assists per game for the surprising Raptors last season. Those are the numbers of a player who will likely carry a price tag too rich for the Heat under normal circumstances.

For this thought to become a reality, the Heat would need James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to opt out and take less money to make a path for Lowry. Stranger things have happened, but for now, let's call it a long shot.


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