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Friday, July 9, 2010

Heat get Bosh, Wade, keep hope on LeBron

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) Dwyane Wade had already decided that if he were to stay with the Miami Heat, he would have either LeBron James or Chris Bosh as a teammate.

News photo
South Beach bound: All-Star forward Chris Bosh, previously a star for the Raptors, will team up with Dwyane Wade to form a potent one-two punch in Miami as the NBA's free agent sweepstakes heats up. AP PHOTO

He got Bosh.

He might get both.

Ending months of speculation, Wade and Bosh made their decisions official on Wednesday, saying their trip through the world of NBA free agency would end in Miami. Wade is staying, Bosh is coming, and now they're waiting — like the rest of the league — to see what LeBron James will do Thursday night when he unveils his plans in a special to be televised on ESPN.

"I'm so glad it's over," Wade said. "I had to do what was best for me. And I know I did that."

Wade does not know what the terms of the next contract he'll sign with Miami will be, nor when he'll sign the paper. Bosh doesn't have terms of his next deal done either.

It's all contingent on what James says Thursday night, and Wade insisted he knows nothing about what the two-time MVP will say or where he'll be saying it from.

"I won't speak to him again until he makes his decision," Wade said. "And when it's over, I will congratulate him. But I will be watching."

Either way, Wade is already thrilled with how free agency played out.

He, James and Bosh were the three kingpins of this long-hyped market, a trio of All-Stars who came into the league together seven years ago and structured their last contracts just to hit the open market together this summer, the last under the current terms of the league's collective bargaining agreement.

They've talked often about playing together.

Now, the ball is clearly in King James' court.

"I expect us to compete for a championship," Bosh told ESPN. "I think both Dwyane and I, we both wanted an opportunity where right away we would be competing. . . . We're ready to sacrifice a lot of things in order to do that. It's not about the money. It's not about anything else except for winning. I'm a winner. Dwyane's a winner. We're going to bring winning to Miami."

That was Heat president Pat Riley's plan.

Miami came into free agency with what turned out to be roughly $46 million of cap space, not including $16.5 million or so earmarked for Wade, thanks to years of avoiding just about any deal where money would have been committed for the 2010-11 season.

The Raptors do have several sign-and-trade options from teams interested in acquiring Bosh, who averaged career-bests of 24.0 points and 10.8 rebounds last season for Toronto.

Bulls land Boozer

CHICAGO (AP) Carlos Boozer is headed to the Chicago Bulls.

Now what about you, LeBron James?

A person familiar with the negotiations said that Boozer, a two-time All-Star forward, agreed to a deal on Wednesday and is leaving the Utah Jazz after six seasons. The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the contract can't become official until 12:01 a.m. Thursday, did not reveal the terms.

Several outlets have reported it's a five-year deal, and the Chicago Tribune cited a source saying the Bulls would still have enough room to offer a maximum salary contract to another free agent.

Celts re-sign Allen

BOSTON (AP) The Boston Celtics' new Big Three will stay together to try for a second NBA title.

Ray Allen confirmed on Wednesday night that he has agreed to a two-year, $20 million contract to return to Boston. With Kevin Garnett under contract, Paul Pierce on the verge of a new four-year deal and coach Doc Rivers also agreeing to return, the Celtics can keep together the core of the 2008 NBA champions for at least two more years.

Allen's agent, Lon Babby, told the AP that the second year is a player option. NBA teams are not allowed to sign free agents until Thursday.

Allen, who turns 35 this month, averaged 16.3 points last season as the Celtics reached the NBA Finals for the second time in three years. After Boston lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games, Allen said, "It's obvious I don't want to be anywhere else."

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