NBA free agency opened Wednesday night (9:01 p.m Pacific) with no concrete signings but plenty of maneuvering.
LeBron James, of course, tops the most attractive free-agent class in memory.
It includes All-Stars Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, Amare Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer; veterans Shaquille O’Neal and Ray Allen; and up-and-comers Rudy Gay and David Lee.
“We’ve never had anything like this in my time that I can remember,” said New Jersey Nets president Rod Thorn, who is stepping down later this month.
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Both Thorn’s Nets and the New York Knicks are scheduled to pay visits to James in Ohio today.
Other teams were headed around the country to meet with players, though the Mavericks were saved a long trip when Nowitzki informed them he would meet with them today in Dallas — with the message arriving while president Donnie Nelson was at the airport preparing for a flight to Germany.
While teams waited for the free-agent dominoes to fall, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he will return for another season, and reports had the Cleveland Cavaliers in “serious talks” to make former Hornets coach Byron Scott their new coach.
• Miami Heat executive Pat Riley contacted Wade and others at 12:01 a.m. EDT.
After seven seasons with Miami, Wade doesn’t want to leave, yet says it’s up to the Heat to put together a roster that will help him contend for more championships.
• Hip-hop mogul Jay-Z and Nets part-owner is part of the team’s recruiting team, joining Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov today in Akron, Ohio.
• New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said James needs to know that celebrities can enjoy the advantages of stardom in the Big Apple.
• Ex-All-Star Antoine Walker pleaded not guilty in Las Vegas to criminal bad check charges alleging he failed to repay almost $1 million in gambling debts.
• John Wall, the top overall pick by the Washington Wizards in the draft last month, can’t have No. 11 – Elvin Hayes’ number is retired – so he’s going with No. 2.