LEBRON Opts Out of Contract with Miami Heat….

SO apparently this morning Lebron James informed Miami Heat, through his agent that he is exercising his early termination on his contract & will be a FREE AGENT as of July 1st. Where will he go? Will he come to LA? Did he leave because he couldn’t take the HEAT (pun intended)? Is he after his next ring? What are your thoughts on him becoming a FREE AGENT?

 

NY TIMES reports — Carmelo Anthony enjoyed the privilege of being the N.B.A.’s most coveted free agent for a little more than 36 hours. That ended Tuesday morning when it was revealed that LeBron James had informed the Miami Heat through his agent, Rich Paul, that he intends to exercise the early-termination option on his contract and become a free agent on July 1.

The news was not surprising — by opting out, James can explore other opportunities while putting leverage on the Heat to improve their roster — but it sent seismic tremors across the league, nonetheless. James, who has won two N.B.A. championships with the Heat, is widely regarded as the planet’s best player, and any team would love to have him.

The problem for most potential suitors, as is often the case amid the frenzy of free agency, is salary cap space. Most teams lack the financial flexibility to absorb the type of contract that James is sure to command, although he could be wooed by the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers (his former team), the Houston Rockets, the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers, who have oodles of cap space and have yet to hire a head coach.

The Heat, though, remain the favorite to retain his services. James, 29, has made four trips to the N.B.A. finals in four seasons in Miami, and he seems to enjoy playing there.

The Heat’s most recent trip to the finals, however, was a bit of a disaster, as the San Antonio Spurs — executing their smart and savvy style of basketball — steamrollered to the title in five games. The series exposed some of the Heat’s flaws, including their lack of depth, and guard Dwyane Wade’s physical limitations.

By opting out, James can restructure his deal with the Heat to help accommodate more players. But much of that could also hinge on what Wade and, to a lesser extent, Chris Bosh decide to do. Like James, Wade and Bosh have opt-out clauses in their contracts. But unlike James, they have yet to inform the Heat of their plans.

James was due to earn $20.6 million from the Heat next season.

Shaquille O’Neal Suffers New Setback In Lawsuit From Former Girlfriend

Shaquille suffered another legal setback in a lawsuit that was filed against the NBA star by his alleged former mistress, Vanessa Lopez, RadarOnline.com is exclusively reporting.

As RadarOnline.com previously reported, Lopez filed the lawsuit against O’Neal for assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and other claims.

Lopez says Shaq started harassing her shortly after she told him she thought she was pregnant. Shaq initially accused her of sleeping with someone else, then when she broke off their relationship, she claims the threats began.

EXCLUSIVE DOCUMENTS: Read The Latest Court Docs

Shaq tried to get the lawsuit dismissed, but was denied. The court docs obtained exclusively by RadarOnline.com state, “Defendant’s motion to dismiss count 1 for assault is denied, defendant’s motion to dismiss count II for intentional infliction of emotional distress is denied.”

The judge did dismiss the invasion of privacy element of the lawsuit.

EXCLUSIVE DOCUMENTS: Read The Shocking Lawsuit

In the suit, Lopez claims a number of scary incidents including a threatening text that Shaq allegedly sent to a friend of his saying, “dis is da numba shut dat b*tch up!”

Lopez says the friend responded with a text saying, “consider it done famo.” The friend then jumped on a plane to Orlando, Florida, and allegedly texted Lopez before calling her on her cell, sounding “menacing and sinister.”

In the papers, Lopez claims that Shaq’s family was in on the intimidation act too, making her fear for her safety. Lopez claims Shaq’s 6’6″ and 6’8″ sisters made verbal and physical threats against her.

Lopez is seeking unspecified damages. <<< see what happens when ya’ll mess with groupie ass bitches, this is what their careers are!!! SMFH

Update NBA Lockout: Owners, Players Focus On Fixing System Issues

LA Times reports — The fatigue wore on their faces, but it hardly masked their enthusiasm.

NBA Commissioner David Stern smiled as he struggled recalling what day it was after wrapping up a 15-hour negotiating meeting early Thursday morning.

NBA Players Assn. executive director Billy Hunter smiled as he joked that players union vice president Maurice Evans should answer questions for him.

NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver smiled when Stern needled him for “allowing all hell to break loose” when he missed last week’s contentious meeting because of flu symptoms.

National Basketball Players Assn. President Derek Fisher smiled when he acknowledged what he called a “slim” possibility both sides could salvage a full, albeit delayed 82-game season should they reach a deal by this weekend.

The reason for such a sudden mood change less than a week after talks broke off points to one simple reason: After reaching a stalemate on how to divide the basketball-related income, both sides instead talked about system issues. Neither side would quantify the exact progress. Stern still acknowledged the likelihood the league will scrap the games played in the last two weeks of the season. And he said, “There’s no deal on anything, unless there’s a deal on everything.” 

But the talks proved at least productive enough for another meeting to take place in New York at 2 p.m. EDT, with some optimism that Thursday’s meeting will bring both sides closer to a deal.

That a 15-hour-long meeting resulting in only undefined progress on system issues would bear such optimism surely reflects on slowly the lockout has proceeded. But it also shows owners and players recognize that they were better served focusing on that area rather than on the basketball-related income.

After all, that issue caused last week’s talks to end abruptly. The players union dropped their percentage from 53% to 52.5%, and even considered a bandwidth between 50%-53% depending on how much revenue the league accumulates. But Silver and San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt accused the players union of refusing to continue discussions unless they met their basketball-related income demands. Likewise, Hunter and Fisher accused the owners refusing to budge on a 50-50 split.

“If we had any hope of trying to recapture the lost games, we had to get back in and talk,” Hunter told reporters. “So we parked the [basketball-related income] and talked about the system.”

It’s possible meetings will go sour as soon as both sides return to that issue. But for now, the strategy shift at least has ensured more meetings, more agreements and more possibilities of brokering a deal.

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