A wild summer in the NBA continues to rumble on with the biggest names on the market still available.
After more than a week of waiting since the open of the free-agency period, several teams might finally get commitments from players on Thursday. With players officially able to sign on July 10, it will be a huge day for franchises around the league.
There might be myriad players out there who can help a franchise in the future, but just two can completely turn around a team. Those stars are LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, with both still having rumors swirling around them.
For James, it appears to be a two-team race this summer. It will likely come down to a decision between his last two teams in the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Will James return home? Or is he destined to remain with the Heat and look to win a third ring in Miami? Here's a look at the most recent whispers about the superstar free agent.
Cavaliers Clearing Space for Potential LeBron Return?
Four years ago, jerseys were burned, obscenities were screamed and tears were shed by Cleveland fans. Now, it appears the franchise might be looking to bring back King James once again.
While his return to the Cavs has been speculated since last season, the Cavs are now apparently getting serious through a three-team deal with the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics that was agreed to on Wednesday.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN noted how the move might be connected to James:
3-team trade involving Cavs, Celtics & Nets could allow Cavs to open about $24M in cap space. LeBron max is $20.7M— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 9, 2014
This trade by the Cavs also comes on the heels of a report by Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com that there is a "90 percent chance" James returns to Cleveland. Rather than a "Decision II" on television, Sheridan reports he will announce his choice on his personal website.
Cleveland's transaction might look like a move solely to bring in King James, but it might be something more if he doesn't return home. Ken Berger of CBS Sports provides details surrounding the Cavs' decision to make the trade:
League source says Cavs' cap-clearing trade today is not LeBron-or-bust. Cavs have space and attractive situation even if LeBron says no.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) July 9, 2014
With other big names still potentially on the market that the team could add to bolster the roster, James might not be the only target. As for what could happen if he signs with Cleveland, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo reports he might be looking to take players with him:
LeBron James reached out to two vet free agents last week about joining him, IF he left Miami, sources tell Yahoo. Mike Miller was one.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 9, 2014
As ludicrous as it might seem, Cleveland appears to be the most likely landing spot outside of Miami. After spurning the team years ago, James would completely change the perception from fans by going back to the Cavaliers and returning home.
Playing with an emerging superstar like Kyrie Irving and No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins would give him several more seasons to compete for championships. But with Miami still courting him, James has yet another tough decision to make.
Heat Working Hard to Keep King James in Miami
Where will LeBron sign?
In a summer of continuous reporting about several free agents and hypothetical situations, this much is certain: The Heat clearly want James to stay put.
So rather than resting on their laurels and believing that James will simply return because he won championships with the team, the franchise is doing everything to bring him back. Chris Broussard of ESPN reports the latest on Miami's plans for James:
In addition to Pat Riley, it is believed Miami's Erik Spoelstra, Mickey Arison and Dwyane Wade will attend today's meeting with LeBron James— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 9, 2014
As for what the Heat hope to come away with from the meeting, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated notes they want to gauge where James stands:
Heat officials are going into today's pow wow with LBJ with no real feel for how James will react to offseason moves. Nervous anticipation.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) July 9, 2014
After both Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger reportedly agreed to terms with Miami, the team has shown it plans to continue building. Of course, the biggest piece for the team is retaining James, which might be harder than they initially thought.
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