Ball Don't Lie - NBA

Each weekday morning, Ball Don't Lie serves up a handful of NBA-related stories to digest with your chicken parmigiana.

Jodie Valade, Cleveland Plain Dealer: "The Cavaliers offered [LeBron] James a contract extension July 18, the first day possible to extend up to a three-year, $65 million offer on his most recent contract. James has an option in his contract for the 2010-11 season, and has until June 30, 2010 to extend the deal or pick up his option. Officially, however, neither side will comment on negotiations. 'I don't think it's appropriate to say anything beyond the fact that we've talked to [agent] Leon Rose and reached out to LeBron,' [Cavs GM Danny] Ferry said Monday at the Cavaliers Youth Fund Golf Classic in Westfield Center. The plan is to build the best team around James in hopes that he'll stay. With the additions of Shaquille O'Neal(notes), guard Anthony Parker(notes) and now [Jamario] Moon, both Ferry and coach Mike Brown seem buoyed by the added athleticism and length. 'And we didn't have to give up core guys to achieve that,' Ferry said."

Jerry Zgoda, Star Tribune: "Now that he’s back from four days in Spain that he termed 'productive,' David Kahn is embarking upon his second — and presumably final — round of interviews for a coach to replace Kevin McHale, a decision that presumably could come by the end of the week. Former NBA point guard Mark Jackson, Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis and Houston assistant Elston Turner on the short list — with Jackson and Rambis clearly the frontrunners — in a search in which Kahn appears to have interviewed more than a dozen candidates, including Wolves assistant Jerry Sichting. League executives long have considered Jackson the favorite, but those in the know in the league think Rambis is getting strong consideration."

Ramona Shelburne, LA Daily News: "CBS 2's Jill Hill reported [Monday] that Odom will meet with Miami Heat president Pat Riley and superstar guard Dwyane Wade(notes). Wade has been publicly campaigning for Odom to return to South Florida via his Twitter feed for weeks. As we mentioned a couple of nights ago, Riley has a home in L.A., so it wasn't clear if he was coming out West to meet with Odom or just to spend some time in his former haunts. I still believe, based on recent conversations I've had with people who haven't taken the vow of radio silence some of the principals in the negotiations have, that Odom will be back with L.A. The Miami gambit is merely his best leverage at getting the Lakers to sweeten their offer. But financially, he can still make the most with the Lakers."

Steve Luhm, Salt Lake Tribune: "I talked to Matt Harpring(notes) Monday for a story in the Tribune. He is conducting his annual basketball camp for kids at the Murray Rec Center. It's already been a summer to remember for Harpring, who whose wife gave birth to the couple's third child just over a month ago. Now, Harpring is trying to determine whether knee and ankle injuries will force an end to his 11-year NBA career. He didn't tell me his final plans, but I get the feeling that Harpring won't play again. 'The [knee] cartilage isn't there any more — it just isn't,' he said. 'When motion isn't there ... I mean, I would love to have something to make it come back. But I don't.'"

Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times: "No reason to panic, Lakers fans. Whether free agent Lamar Odom(notes) stays in Los Angeles or leaves for the Miami Heat, Las Vegas bookmakers said Monday they don't anticipate anything that would drop the Lakers from their perch as preseason favorites to win the NBA championship — again. 'Getting [forward Ron] Artest is better than losing Lamar,' said Jay Rood, director of the MGM/Mirage Race and Sports Book. The Lakers signed free agent Artest this month. 'The core of that team still is what it is, and as long as you keep Kobe [Bryant] and [Coach] Phil [Jackson], nothing changes.'"

Mark Murphy, Boston Herald: "Marquis Daniels has agreed to come to the Celtics, and his former team, the Indiana Pacers, have agreed to sweeten the pot for the player by cooperating in a sign-and-trade deal. The only problem is Indiana’s compensation. Two league sources confirmed yesterday the Celtics and Pacers are seeking a third team to facilitate the trade. The problem is believed to be Indiana’s lack of interest in guard Tony Allen(notes), whom the Celtics offered to the Pacers. The Celtics also reportedly have attempted to include guard Gabe Pruitt(notes) and forward Bill Walker(notes) in the package."

Fred Kerber, New York Post: "If the Nets want to pursue Celtics restricted free agent power forward Glen "Big Baby" Davis, they may have to do so in a sign-and-trade scenario that involves a third team and helps the Nets alleviate their logjam of 15 guaranteed contracts. The Celtics' proposed sign-and-trade to land free agent Marquis Daniels(notes) from the Pacers has run into complications and could lead to the need of a three-team deal. Enter the Nets, with their legitimate interest in Davis, who averaged 15.8 points and 6.0 rebounds during the playoffs last season. The Celtics have indicated they will match any reasonable offer for Davis. 'We have not made any offers to anybody,' Nets team president Rod Thorn said. The Nets have made their inquiries and repeatedly have said they need to create a roster space before making a move. A report that surfaced yesterday about a sign-and-trade involving Davis and Nets forward Yi Jianlian(notes) was shot down by both sides about 30 seconds after it sought traction."

Detroit Free Press wire: "Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley was emphatic over the weekend that a roster move was not made to create more salary-cap space for former Piston Allen Iverson(notes). 'Iverson wasn't even part of the conversation,' Heisley told the Memphis Commercial Appeal after renouncing the rights to power forward Hakim Warrick(notes) ($3 million in savings) late last week. It set off immediate speculation that the Grizzlies were going to renew contact talks with Iverson, whom the Grizzlies flirted with shortly after the free-agency period began July 1. But Heisley quelled that talk. 'I think we decided we wanted some flexibility,' Heisley said. 'But the idea that there is a target is completely false. As for Iverson, I think he's trying to get with a team like L.A. (Clippers) or Miami or someone like that. Frankly, I've tried to tell everybody that I don't think we're at the top of Iverson's list, but no one wants to listen. All it is, we're basically opening up cap room for us.'"

Jody Genessy, Deseret News: "Carlos Boozer has been rumored to be headed anywhere from New York to New Jersey to Detroit to Houston for the 2009-10 season. But the power forward has made it more than clear in recent weeks that he'd like playing in Chicago and that he'd really, really love playing in Miami next year. So, can he envision himself returning for a sixth season in Utah? When asked a similar question Monday by a Miami sports-radio host, the Jazz power forward-for-now gave a simple, four-letter, two-word response: 'Um, no.'"

Jeff McDonald, SA Express-News: "The newest Spur was in San Antonio on Monday, steeled to endure the typical battery of physical tests that comes with arriving in a new NBA town. By now, Theo Ratliff(notes) is used to the drill. At various other points in his 14-season pro career, he has also done the turn-your-head-and-cough routine in Detroit, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Portland, Boston and Minnesota. The welcome-to-the-team physical has been roughly the same in each locale, as thorough as it is monotonous. 'Lots of checks and balances,' Ratliff said with a chuckle after his latest exam ended late Monday afternoon. Well-traveled and well-heeled, Ratliff arrives in San Antonio in search of the one significant bauble that has eluded him. A championship. Ratliff, the 6-foot-10 center who signed a one-year, veteran-minimum deal with the Spurs last week, did so because he believes the team gives him the best chance of putting an exclamation point on his long and winding career. 'Just to be in a position going into the season where you know you have a chance to be playing in that final game, that's something I haven't had in a long time,' said Ratliff, 36. 'That's more important than anything.'"

Bruce Arthur, National Post: "Life, obviously, changes a person. Priorities change as you grow older — when you leave school, when you buy a house, when you have kids. You tend to get more risk-averse, more willing to compromise. And most of us stop reaching for the stars when it becomes clear we'll probably never get there. Steve Nash(notes) has apparently reached that stage in his basketball life. At 35, he could have played out his contract with the Phoenix Suns and explored free agency in 2010. He could have forced a trade to a potential contender. He could have held out for another chance at a championship. Instead, Nash signed a two-year contract extension with Phoenix, where contention is only a memory. The boy from Victoria, B. C. signed the deal because the money was good, sure — a reported US$22-million over two years — but mostly, he stayed in Phoenix because he likes the guys he plays with, and he likes the city, and he likes the staff, and he is comfortable there. In other words, he is still in the game, but not for a title."

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