The 2014 NBA draft created a serious buzz around the offseason, and the rumors surrounding the start of free agency and potential trades has basketball fans across the world ready to see where the biggest names land.
With stars like LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Jeremy Lin all possibly changing teams this offseason, the landscape of the NBA could be drastically altered when the first regular-season tipoff happens this fall.
Here are the latest free-agency and trade rumors circulating the basketball world.
LeBron James Considering Cleveland Cavaliers?
One of the main reasons LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first place was to win championships, and he accomplished that feat with the Miami Heat. If he doesn’t believe in a future with Miami, jumping back to Cleveland would be a viable option.
Re-signing with the Cavaliers looked like a long shot when he initially left, but the franchise understands that its best chance at winning a title would be with James on the roster.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, James’ agent, Rich Paul, has set the stage for a possible return to Cleveland this offseason:
At the urging of LeBron James' agent, the Cleveland Cavaliers are pursuing a maximum contract salary slot to bring back the free-agent superstar, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Rich Paul, the president of Klutch Sports, has been funneling belief into the organization that the Cavaliers are in strong position to lure James from the Miami Heat, sources told Yahoo Sports.
For years, Paul has confided to people that bringing back James to Cleveland has been something of a mission for him, and he's encouraging Cavaliers officials to offer no restraint in the recruitment of James, sources said.
James is an Ohio native, and returning to his longtime home would be an intriguing option for any player. His familiarity with the organization would make for an easier transition, and he would be handed the keys to the franchise as its top star once again.
Add in a roster that already includes young stars like Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins, and the future is bright for the team. If James joins the roster and Cleveland could alleviate more cap room, there is a chance he could open the floodgates for other free agents as well.
Chris Bosh Has a Backup Plan With Houston Rockets?
While all eyes are on James as the NBA awaits his decision, another top star waiting patiently is Miami Heat power forward Chris Bosh. The veteran is exploring all of his options, though, and already has a "Plan B" in place.
In a separate report from Wojnarowski, Bosh and advisers have listened to an offer from the Houston Rockets and are waiting for James before weighing out his full options:
Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh had his first direct conversation with Houston Rockets management on Monday morning, inching closer to the possibility of a four-year, $80 million-plus contract, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Bosh's stance on his intentions has remained unchanged: His preference is to stay with Miami on a new deal and play with LeBron James. Nevertheless, James hasn't committed to a return, and Houston has moved aggressively to secure a deal with Bosh, sources said.
If James decides to go out on his own, Bosh has a secondary option with Houston that is genuinely intriguing. The Rockets already boast James Harden and Dwight Howard, and Bosh would give the team its own version of the Big Three.
Bosh is at his best when taking shots. With Howard patrolling the paint both offensively and defensively, he would be free to stretch the opposition and pull up for open shots when he feels comfortable.
Schematically, Bosh is a perfect fit in Houston.
Philadelphia 76ers Interested in Jeremy Lin?
The Philadelphia 76ers are in a long-term rebuilding phase right now, but the organization also wants to put fans in the seats. The team also needs responsible leaders to set the tone for the young players, and that’s where Houston’s Jeremy Lin fits the mold.
The Harvard star has been through a tumultuous time during his short NBA career but has always remained optimistic. His mental toughness is something Philadelphia would like to instill into its crop of prospects.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the 76ers are interested in acquiring Lin as long as the deal fits the game plan for the future:
The Philadelphia 76ers have expressed a willingness to trade for Houston Rockets guard Jeremy Lin depending on what sort of assets Houston is willing to attach to the deal, according to sources close to the process.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Sixers, who have ample room on their payroll to absorb Lin's contract, have emerged as a leading contender to take on Lin in a trade that sends no salary back to the Rockets, which would enable the Rockets to extend a rich offer in free agency to either Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh.
The roster may already include Rookie of the Year award winner and fellow point guard Michael Carter-Williams, but Lin has learned to accept any role given to him. Whether it’s coming off the bench or playing shooting guard at times, Lin would help fill the much-needed leadership void.
Add in the excitement amongst the fans he brings to any team he is on, and Philadelphia would be wise to acquire Lin via trade this offseason.
*Stats via NBA.com.