IN THE LANE

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Nba Insider -

NOT HAP­PEN­ING: It was al­ways more spec­u­la­tion than any­thing close to re­al­ity, but LeBron James made clear to ESPN this past week that a re­turn to the Heat was not in his think­ing dur­ing free agency — but that the Philadel­phia 76ers and Hous­ton Rock­ets were — be­fore he signed with the Los An­ge­les Lak­ers. “I def­i­nitely thought long and hard about the pos­si­bil­i­ties of lin­ing up along­side Ben [Sim­mons] and [Joel] Em­biid,” he said “or lin­ing up along­side [Hous­ton’s James] Harden and Chris [Paul]. I just felt like at this point in my ca­reer, the ul­ti­mate for me — just like when I went to Mi­ami [in 2010], everyone kind of looks at me join­ing a su­per team. But if peo­ple look at it, I think Mi­ami was [47-35] the year be­fore I joined that team and you can look at the Lak­ers’ record — so I like the chal­lenge of be­ing able to help a team get to someplace they haven’t been in quite a while.” He then men­tioned a fac­tor the Heat couldn’t bring to the ta­ble. “Ob­vi­ously, the Lak­ers haven’t made the play­offs in a few years, but the Lak­ers or­ga­ni­za­tion and the his­tor­i­cal fran­chise matches up there with all the greats,” James said. “You can look at the Cow­boys, and you can look at the Pa­tri­ots, you can look at Manch­ester United, the Bos­ton Celtics — these are his­tor­i­cal fran­chises. And for me to be a part of that, I think it’s a great mo­ment for not only me but for my fam­ily.”

For­mer Heat guard Mario Chalmers in­sists he is not done at 32, merely wait­ing his turn in NBA free agency. “I know I’ll be on a team next year. I’m not wor­ried about that part,” he told the Kansas City Star. “It’s just a mat­ter of time. They are get­ting all the young guys, all the big free agents out of the way now. I’m just wait­ing my turn.” Chalmers, in his re­turn from a sea­son ab­sence with a torn Achilles, ap­peared in 66 games with the Mem­phis Griz­zlies last sea­son, av­er­ag­ing 7.7 points and 3.3 as­sists. “At this point of my ca­reer, I’m want­ing what’s best for the team.”

KELLY’S VIEW: Amid his an­nual bas­ket­ball camp in Canada, Heat big man Kelly Olynyk was asked by kam­loop­sthisweek.com about the Heat’s crowded power ro­ta­tion with him­self, Has­san White­side and Bam Ade­bayo. “I bring a lit­tle bit of a dif­fer­ent skillset and dif­fer­ent look than those two guys, but com­pe­ti­tion is good,” Olynyk said. “That’s what you want on your team. Whether com­ing off the bench or start­ing, you want to make sure you’re bring­ing some­thing to the ta­ble ev­ery time you step on the floor, mak­ing each other bet­ter . ... I love the way the coach­ing staff thinks and their tra­jec­tory for me and, hope­fully, giv­ing me the most op­por­tu­nity pos­si­ble to be suc­cess­ful.”

WORLD TOUR: For­mer Heat as­sis­tant coach David Fiz­dale made good on his vow upon tak­ing over as New York Knicks coach to visit star for­ward Kristaps Porzingis in Latvia. “We’ve talked about his re­hab,” Fiz­dale told Lat­vian tele­vi­sion net­work LSM, with Porzingis re­cov­er­ing from Fe­bru­ary ACL surgery. “We’ve talked about how we want to play, our style of play, talked a lot about the cul­ture that we’re build­ing. We want to make sure that he comes back strong and healthy.” — Ira Win­der­man

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