MIAMI — They’ve been teammates for only a week, and Dwyane Wade is already standing up for LeBron James.
Wade defended the NBA’s two-time reigning MVP on Thursday, telling The Associated Press that James “didn’t quit” on Cleveland during the playoffs. That was the accusation made by Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert last week, not long after James went on television to reveal he was leaving Cleveland for Miami.
“He’s not a quitter,” Wade said. “He didn’t quit.”
In an interview with The AP on July 8, Gilbert not only levied the quitting charge, but said James got “a free pass” for too long. The NBA fined Gilbert $100,000 earlier this week for some of his comments, with commissioner David Stern saying they were too extreme for the league’s liking.
Heat acquire Miller
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — How do you build a roster around three stars who account for almost all of the NBA’s $58 million salary cap? Apparently, pretty easily. Thursday, another piece of the Miami Heat’s reconstruction plan formally fell into place, with Washington Wizards forward Mike Miller announcing he would be joining Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh on Pat Riley’s high-end creation. The three-point specialist joins the team’s three stars as well as former University of Florida roommate Udonis Haslem.
Jazz bring back Bell
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz are bringing back Raja Bell. Agent Herb Rudoy said Bell and the Jazz agreed to a three-year deal worth around $10 million. The 33-year-old shooting guard just needs to pass a physical, which probably won’t happen until next week. Rudoy said Bell is thrilled to be coming back to Utah, where his career took off during two seasons with the Jazz between 2003 and 2005.
Warriors sold for $450 million
OAKLAND, Calif. — Golden State Warriors owner Chris Cohan reached an agreement Thursday to sell the franchise for a record $450 million to Boston Celtics minority partner Joe Lacob and Mandalay Entertainment CEO Peter Guber. Lacob and Guber beat out three other finalists, including Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who had been considered the favorite to buy the team from Cohan.
Pierce re-signs with Celtics
BOSTON — Paul Pierce never planned to leave Boston when he opted out of the final year of his contract. He just wanted to help the Celtics find him some teammates. “I never thought once about leaving the Celtics,” Pierce said Thursday when the team announced he had signed a four-year deal. Since losing the NBA finals to the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston re-signed Ray Allen, 35, to a two-year contract and gave free agent center-forward Jermaine O’Neal, 31, a two-year deal. Kevin Garnett, 34, also has two years left on his contract. Those three, plus Pierce, 32, have a total of 54 seasons of NBA experience.
Medics nixed Head deal
NEW ORLEANS — The Hornets say they decided not to sign free agent Luther Head after consulting with the team’s medical staff. In a statement issued on Thursday, Hornet’s president Hugh Weber says after consulting with their medical team they felt it was not in their best interest to sign Head. The statement comes after Head’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, said Wednesday that New Orleans had not offered a reasonable explanation for rescinding a two-year contract offer for the veteran guard.