Stern: James, Wade, Bosh didn’t break rules with free agency talk

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS -

In the face of mount­ing re­ports of col­lu­sion, NBA com­mis­sioner David Stern said LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh vi­o­lated no league rules in dis­cussing free agency among them­selves and that the league isn’t in­ves­ti­gat­ing how the Mi­ami Heat man­aged to land all three.

“Play­ers are go­ing to talk, they’re go­ing to do that,’’ Stern said from an own­ers meet­ing in Las Ve­gas. “But the club did noth­ing wrong as far as we know. No for­mal com­plaints were levied at our Board of Gov­er­nors meet­ing.’’

The Cleve­land Plain Dealer had a piece Sun­day that of­fered ev­i­dence James hatched a plan two years ago to hook up in Mi­ami with Wade.

Sev­eral own­ers, in­clud­ing Mark Cuban of Dal­las, have sug­gested there may have been col­lu­sion.

“Our play­ers are to­tally within their rights to seek em­ploy­ment with any other team,” Stern said. “That’s some­thing we em­brace. That’s our sys­tem.

“Mi­ami did a pretty good job of clear­ing out cap space and putting to­gether a plan.”

Stern did nee­dle James for his or­ches­trated, made-for-TV spe­cial to an­nounce his exit from Cleve­land.

“The ad­vice that he re­ceived on this was poor,” he said. “The per­for­mance was fine. His hon­esty and his in­tegrity, I think, shined through. But this de­ci­sion was ill-con­ceived.”

Stern also took ac­tion against Cleve­land owner Dan Gil­bert, fin­ing him $100,000 for harshly crit­i­ciz­ing James.

Fisher re­mains in L.A.

LOS AN­GE­LES — Al­though Derek Fisher thought about join­ing that bur­geon­ing su­per team in Mi­ami, he’s stay­ing in the Los An­ge­les Lak­ers’ own col­lec­tion of stars.

The vet­eran point guard was ask­ing for at least $5 mil­lion per sea­son. Terms of the deal were not avail­able. Fisher av­er­aged 7.5 points and 2.5 as­sists last year and is a leader in the locker room.

Haslem stays in Mi­ami

MI­AMI — Add Udo­nis Haslem to the list of play­ers tak­ing less money to play for the Mi­ami Heat next sea­son. The re­serve power for­ward signed a five-year deal worth around $20 mil­lion, roughly $14 mil­lion less than he could have re­ceived if he ac­cepted more lu­cra­tive of­fers from Dal­las and Den­ver.

Haslem has av­er­aged 10.0 points and 8.1 re­bounds in seven Mi­ami sea­sons and is a fa­vorite of Dwyane Wade’s.

Else­where ...

Char­lotte cen­ter Tyson Chan­dler says he’s been told he’s be­ing traded to the Rap­tors amid a re­port Toronto is also poised to send Hedo Turkoglu to Phoenix. De­tails were pend­ing.

Or­lando agreed to a deal with free agent swing man Quentin Richardson, who av­er­aged 8.9 points and 4.9 re­bounds for Mi­ami last year.

Lynn Sladky

LeBron James, left, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh talked about free agency among them­selves – and that’s OK with the NBA.

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