Wade, Bosh to Heat, Boozer to Bulls; James up
The dominoes started falling quickly Wednesday in the NBA’s summer free agent splash:
Dwyane Wade decided early in the morning that he would return to the Miami Heat.
Chris Bosh, a talented, young forward, soon agreed to join Wade in Miami.
Carlos Boozer, a relentless power forward, made a deal with the Chicago Bulls.
Ray Allen, a sharp-shooter guard, re-upped with the Boston Celtics.
Now comes the biggest of all: LeBron James.
James will announce his decision in a one-hour ESPN primetime special at 8 p.m. And he won’t make fans wait the entire hour to
Continued from C shuffle team caps. An ESPN executive says James will announce his plans within the first 10 minutes of the show, which has been called “The Decision.’’
Norby Williamson, the cable network’s vice president of production, says sportscaster Jim Gray will handle the introduction, announcement and questions. Williamson says Gray was hand-picked by James’ team, who approached the network last week about the special.
The show will take place at the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich, Conn., which should make Cavaliers fans plenty nervous because, up until now, James has done just about everything in his life either in Cleveland or his hometown of Akron, Ohio.
Cleveland and Miami are considered the favorites for James’ services, but Chicago, New York and New Jersey insist they are still in the running.
Miami and Chicago got an unexpected boost late Wednesday with word that the NBA salary cap will be higher than expected for the 2010-11 season — $58 million instead of $56 million.
That means the Heat and Bulls can probably afford to give out another maximum contract, even after Wade and Bosh picked Miami and Boozer agreed to an $80 million, fiveyear deal with Chicago.
“We still hope to get LeBron to join us,’’ said Wade, who was tempted to jump to his hometown Chicago team.
James averaged 29.7 points for Cleveland last season, Dwyane Wade was tempted to go home and play for Chicago, but stayed in Miami. ‘We still hope to get LeBron to join us,’ he said. Wade averaged 26.6 points for Miami and Bosh averaged career-bests of 24.0 points and 10.8 rebounds for Toronto.
“I expect us to compete for a championship,” Bosh said. “I think both Dwyane and I, we both wanted an opportunity where right away we would be competing. We’re ready to sacrifice a lot of things in order to do that.”
The Heat still have only four players in the picture for this coming season: Wade, Bosh, Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers. Miami is in discussions with several free agents, including Brendan Haywood, Mike Miller, Raymond Felton Chris Bosh left Toronto to join Dwyane Wade in Miami because, he said, he wants to play for a title immediately. and Udonis Haslem — whom Wade has played with in all seven of his previous seasons.
The Bulls are thrilled to land Boozer. He averaged 19.5 points and 11.2 rebounds last season for Utah. His arrival gives the Bulls a formidable pair in the frontcourt with Joakim Noah, not to mention a good pickand-roll partner for All-Star point guard Derrick Rose.
Chicago sources pointed out they still have enough left in the bank for James.
Allen, who turns 35 this month, agreed to a two-year, $20 million contract to return to the Celtics and give it one last go with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.