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10 p.m. LeBron news; Heat free-agent chatter on players Miami has called about, Heat's own free agents; Beckham/MLS news

An evening Heat free agency update, including tonight's developments, can be found below. First, a quick David Beckham/MLS note:

Though Beckham's group has made clear that Beckham wants his proposed MLS team to play in downtown Miami, Broward County commissioner Stacy Ritter told me today that the team has now expressed willingness to speak to Broward County about a soccer-specific stadium.

Ritter said Brian Ballard, one of the team's lobbyists, conveyed that Beckham's group is now willing to listen to what Broward officials have to say. Those talks are expected soon, she said.

It's too soon to tell the level of the Beckham group's interest in this idea, but at least they told Ritter that Beckham & Co. are open to considering it.

Ritter said county-owned land near the Panthers' arena (BB&T Center) would be a "great fit" for the stadium.

"Beckham's group was very unhappy with the parcel that Miami-Dade wanted to provide," Ritter said. "We're easier to deal with than the county to the south."

Beckham's top two choices for a stadium --- the Port of Miami site and the boat slip site next to AmericanAirlines Arena --- were both rejected by local government officials, and Beckham's group has said it's not enthusiastic about a site near Marlins Park because the land is "spiritually tainted" in the wake of  the Marlins' controversial ballpark deal.

Beckham's group has said it's assessing its options regarding Miami.

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Heat free agent chatter:

### Amid news that LeBron James’ agent has been listening to pitches from several teams, the pressure has escalated on Heat president Pat Riley, who --- along with coach Erik Spoelstra --- is meeting with center Pau Gasol and others in Los Angeles, hoping to convince a high-end free agent to take considerably less money to sign with Miami.

Problem is, James to this point hasn't made a commitment to return to the Heat, and his agent, Rich Paul, this week met with at least four teams (Phoenix, Houston, Dallas and Cleveland), according to ESPN, which also reported that Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak is flying to Cleveland to meet with Paul. Yahoo! said Houston was not granted a meeting, spoke to Paul by phone and has moved on.

Yahoo! reported that Paul suggested to Cleveland, Dallas and Phoenix that they might be brought back to Cleveland to meet with James next week if Riley doesn't quickly improve the Heat's roster. James was on vacation this week and did not meet with any teams.

The Heat fully expects James will re-sign.

One associate of James told me that he still makes the Heat the clear favorite to keep James but also that the four-time MVP is "weighing all his options" and "wants to see how things play out" with the Heat's roster, which he wants upgraded. As has been reported, James wants the maximum money allowed, and the Heat is fine with that.

But that associate also said it's very difficult to envision him signing with Phoenix or Houston. (Dallas did not come up in the conversation with the associate.)

The associate reiterated that the idea of playing again in Cleveland again at some point appeals to James and said the Cavaliers cannot be ruled out this summer. 

The Cavaliers don't look ready to win big now, and that's critically important to James, but that would change quickly if James commits and if Cleveland trades Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love, who reportedly would be receptive to signing with the Cavaliers longterm if James is there.

If Riley cannot lure a high-end free agent such as Gasol or Trevor Ariza or Luol Deng, the Heat instead will focus on adding several reasonably-priced players.

The Heat’s cap space is projected to be substantially less than the $12 million cited in one national report.

If Chris Bosh accepts a first-year salary of $15 million and Dwyane Wade $13 million, the Heat would have in the range of $6 million to $7 million in space, presuming James signs at the maximum $20.7 million. (About $2 million more could be added by dumping Norris Cole.) The Heat also would have a $2.7 million "room" salary cap exception in this scenario.

Yahoo! reported tonight that Bosh and Wade have not agreed to salaries and are reluctant to taking severe pay cuts, though they will take reductions. Still, Bosh has told associates he plans to return to the Heat, and Wade also plans to return, of course. 

Unless the Heat can convince one of the pricey free agents to take considerably less than market value, the Heat might be better served by operating as a capped-out team.

Under that scenario, the Heat could not use cap space but could use a $5.3 million midlevel exception, a $2.2 million trade exception and a $2 million bi-annual exception and also preserve Bird Rights to re-sign its own free agents, which would allow Miami to give raises to Ray Allen (who made $3.2 million last season) and Chris Andersen ($1.4 million).

### The Heat has strong interest in adding one or two veteran wing players. Among free agents that Miami has reached out to, according to people with direct knowledge: New Orleans’ Anthony Morrow (8.4 points, 45.1 percent three-point shooting last season); Oklahoma City’s Caron Butler (10.5, 39.4) and Utah’s Marvin Williams (9.1 points, 35.9 percent).

Other affordable wing players potentially in play include Alan Anderson, Shawn Marion, Jordan Hamilton and restricted free agent PJ Tucker. The Heat and Nick Young’s agent also had a preliminary conversation.  Chandler Parsons would help, but he's restricted (giving Houston a chance to match) and will get better offers elsewhere, perhaps $10 million a year or more.

The Heat so far has not pursued Dallas free agent Vince Carter beyond an initial inquiry.

### Among point guards, the Heat has been in communication with representation for a few veterans, including Jameer Nelson and Kirk Hinrich. Sacramento's Isaiah Thomas, a restricted free agent, is also on Miami's radar. (Teams have three days to match an offer in restricted free agency.)

An initial inquiry was made on Ramon Sessions, but the Heat has taken it no further, and nothing had materialized with Steve Blake as of Thursday. Miami didn’t pursue Darren Collison before he agreed to terms with Sacramento on Thursday.

### Among power rotation players, the Heat called to express interest in Charlotte power forward Josh McRoberts, among others, but he might be too costly if the Heat uses its primary exception money on a wing player. Chris Kaman, who has attracted Heat interest in the past, agreed to terms with Portland tonight, according to reports. The Heat likes Lakers power forward Jordan Hill --- who could command mid-level type money ---- but is focusing on bigger names for now (Gasol, Deng, etc.).

### Besides Gasol, Riley is trying to meet with others in California, Yahoo reported! The Heat also might meet with Ariza, but Gasol and Ariza are seeking considerably more than what Miami can offer.

Oklahoma City, San Antonio and New York also are trying to obtain Gasol at a bargain-basement price. Yahoo! reports Gasol wants $10 million but hasn't ruled out taking the $5.3 million exception.

Ariza has instructed his agent to try to work out a deal with the Wizards before engaging other teams, The Washington Post reported.

The Heat is interested in Deng, and Deng likes the Heat, but agent Herb Rudoy said “we don’t know yet” if the Heat will be a serious contender for him or whether Deng will even meet with the Heat.

“We haven’t talked money [with Miami],” Rudoy said. “We’re waiting for the Big Three to sort out.” Deng also has interest from the Clippers, Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas, among others.

### Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer would have interest in the Heat if Chicago uses the amnesty provision on him, according to an associate. The Bulls have until July 18 to decide whether to wipe Boozer’s $16.8 million salary off their cap.

But if the Heat uses all its cap space before the amnesty period, or if it uses its cap exceptions instead of cap space, then the Heat would not have the money to make a bid for Boozer in the amnesty process (at more than the minimum, obviously) unless it somehow got back under the cap, according to cap expert Larry Coon. The team with the highest bid would claim him, and he would become a free agent only if there were no bids.

### Ray Allen has been leaning toward playing (he likes playing with LeBron) but hasn’t informed the Heat definitively. He and Andersen will be invited back.

James Jones also is expected to be asked back, though that has not been conveyed.

The Heat called about Rashard Lewis, Greg Oden and Michael Beasley early in free agency and indicated interest in speaking further next week or beyond.

“They didn’t commit to bringing Greg back but they were happy with his progress,” said Oden’s agent, Mike Conley Sr.

All three players have interest in returning.

### As for Mario Chalmers, the Heat called him and made clear the door has not been closed to a possible return. But Chalmers is unsure of Miami’s level of interest, according to a very close associate. Several teams have inquired about Chalmers. 

### Though the Heat inquired about Kyle Lowry and Marcin Gortat --- who resigned with Toronto and Washington --- Miami never made an offer to either, according to someone with direct knowledge.

Please see the story on the sports home page for details on Dion Jordan's suspension.... Also, Fort Lauderdale Gibbons three star Class of 2015 DE Richard McIntosh orally committed to UM, opting for Miami instead of UF, Wisconsin and others.

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Fins are Cursed

Dion Jordan = Another Ireland bust

Fins are Cursed

The Ross ownership is just one crisis after another lol

u are u ... DT deja vU u ...

Don't forget this little tidbit from Barry's last blog ...

Canes football chatter:

### The words atop a recent University of Miami football ad --- “Go to Fewer Games!” --- assuredly elicited double-takes.

But it wasn’t a misprint.

It’s all part of a unique and creative new strategy in which the Hurricanes are placing nearly all of their football marketing efforts behind trying to sell out two games: against North Carolina on Nov. 1 and Florida State on Nov. 15.

“It’s an effort to sell more tickets --- not have people go to fewer games,” athletic director Blake James said. “The goal of this strategy is to get us to two sellouts” --- which would be more than past years ---- “as well as sell as many season tickets as possible.”

Over the years, UM has struggled to sell tickets against non-marquee opponents and determined it didn’t make sense to put a lot of time and money into promoting its other five home games: Florida A&M on Sept. 6, Arkansas State on Sept. 13, Duke on Sept. 27, Cincinnati on Oct. 11 and Pittsburgh on Nov. 29.

UM believes that if it can sell out the FSU game (that has a good chance of happening) and the UNC game (which will be a tougher sell), then fans will be more inclined to buy season tickets in 2015.

The belief is based on the theory that fans have a more enjoyable experience when the stadium is full.

“If you have two fantastic experiences, you get people closer to moving to a bigger commitment for the right reasons,” said Chris Freet, UM’s senior associate athletic director.

So how is the strategy working? It’s too early to tell, but UM is encouraged that it has sold 3600 more season tickets than it had at this point last year, when the Hurricanes sold 29,917 season tickets, a 24 percent spike over 2012.

UM also has sold more than 2000 tickets to its two-game FSU/UNC package, which is priced at $108. All of those seats are in the upper bowl and club seat areas, because lower bowl seats --- at this point --- are reserved for full season-ticket holders.

UM isn’t sure if it will place any single-game FSU tickets on sale and will not make that decision until October. That decision will depend partly on how many tickets it sells to the two-game FSU/UNC package, and how many tickets FSU claims from its maximum allotment of 10,000.

If FSU tickets are sold as individual game tickets, they will be priced at $89. UNC single game tickets will be sold for $29. So fans paying the $108 for the two-game package will essentially be paying $10 below face value for the two games.

The “go to fewer games” slogan was the brainchild of longtime sports executive Jon Spoelstra, father of Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.

Jon Spoelstra, who has been consulting with UM, used that marketing strategy, with successful results, when he worked for the Portland Trail Blazers and with minor-league baseball teams in Dayton, Ohio, and Staten Island, N.Y.

But Freet conceded “one of the scary things” is that no other college football program, to his knowledge, has tried this marketing approach because most leverage season tickets the entire offseason “rather than offering smaller packages that might work best for busy families and fans in their market place.”

What has been the reaction nationally to the “Go to Fewer Games” ad?

Freet said some UM fans and donors initially questioned the strategy but many of them understood when UM explained it.

“People read it and say it makes sense,” Freet said. “It’s a strategic plan for growth. We don’t have the manpower and funding to effectively target seven games. So the thinking was, let’s just crush FSU and UNC and the momentum of that will help.”

Capacity for the FSU and UNC games will be 75,000. For the other five home games, tarps will cover a portion of the upper bowl, limiting capacity to 67,000.

UM expects more than 60,000 will attend the Pittsburgh game because all of the university’s 10,000-plus employees can buy as many as four tickets for $3.

UM will carry this marketing strategy over to the 2015 season, when it will target the Clemson, Nebraska and Virginia Tech games for potential sellouts.

### Single game tickets to the other five home games will go on sale in August. The lowest-priced seats will be $19 for Florida A&M and Arkansas State and $29 for Duke, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

### Parking for UM games will be priced at $15 to $25 in advance or $20 to $30 on game days. UM and Sun Life Stadium negotiate that rate and share the revenue.

### This week’s pledge by two-star outside linebacker/defensive end Claude George gives UM 16 oral commitments heading into a 21-day dead period.

Of those 16, UM has no five-star recruits but four are four-star recruits, according to rivals.com: running backs Jordan Cronkite and Dexter Williams (who is still looking at other schools) and defensive end Scott Patchan (who already has made clear his distaste for players who drop their Canes commitments to commit elsewhere).

### Former UM safety Kacy Rodgers, who signed with Kansas City, said UM fans have been asking him about his offseason tweet -- “It’s crazy what you can accomplish once you leave a negative environment” --- but insisted he wasn’t taking a shot at UM. (His explanation that he was talking about his own frame of mind wasn’t especially convincing.)

Though some perceived his comment to be a shot at defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio (who can be hard on players), he said it was not: “Coach D’Onofrio does a great job.”

### After committing to UM and then de-committing on Twitter and then committing again, Michael Wyche is finally on campus, so UM fans can feel some sense of relief.

Wyche, from East Los Angeles Community College, needs to start, or at the very least be an impact player, on a defensive line that needs all the help it can get at tackle. UM has tried to convince everyone that Earl Moore and some of the other disappointing tackles improved in the spring, but we need to see it in a game.

.

Now besides the fact that everyone in the Country knows u play in an empty lifeless bunker 30 miles from Campus, got yet ANOTHER 2 star nobody to commit, is the GLARING FACT that u STILL have NO DEFENSIVE TACKLE DEPTHS WHATSOEVER after 4-5-6 years running !


and that is why

u are u ... DT deja vU u ...

oh and this GOLDEN NuGGET about ALverage and Co. ...

“It’s crazy what you can accomplish once you leave a negative environment”


-Former UM safety Kacy Rodgers-

Eddie

Thanks for the update.

Ship shape

This team has been cursed since Joe Robbie's kids gave up ownership. I ain't superstitious but I swear this team is cursed. Ross is utterly clueless.

Joe "I know nuthin" Philbin

Son of Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin accused of causing crash, leaving scene

.By Ayana Stewart

astewart@miamiherald.com

Matthew Philbin, a U.S. Army first lieutenant and the son of Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin, crashed his Jeep into a Honda Civic and fled the scene of the accident, leaving behind an injured driver, according to a police report.

According to the report, the incident happened March 23 in Austin, Texas. The 26-year-old, who is stationed at Fort Hood, allegedly drove the wrong way down a one-way street and collided with 22-year-old Kristen Robinson, who had a green light.

Robinson suffered arm, head and neck injuries. One witness who saw the crash said she appeared to be in shock.

According to Austin Police Detective D. Drake, the witness stopped and asked for Philbin‘s cellphone to call for help.

Philbin refused, asking both the victim and witness to avoid calling the police. Soon after, he hailed a cab and fled the scene.


CANT EVEN COACH HIS SON TO BE A HUMAN.

Not our rival

Posted by: u are u ... DT deja vU u ... | 07/03/2014 at 06:35 PM

Hush nerd, no one cares about your fake internet rivalry, in real life Miami crushed your team in football last year and we're not scheduled to ever play again.

Bobbyd12

u r a gator loser whose team could not beat a high school team who didn't throw a pass during a game. back to gainsville know nothing

Miami Penguin

Mama says: Broward is the Kendall of South Florida.

Just Saying

Bringing both Pouncey and Incognito to the Dolphins were both huge errors in judgement by Jeff Ireland. One by one every one of his draft choices is proving to be a bust or a mental case.

Mike Hunt

I thought Kendall was the Kendall of south florida??

Former Season Tckt Holder

Beckham in Broward county?? In Siberia by the Panthers arena?? WTF! They lost me and most of the soccer fans in the area

joe r

dolphins need a path away from mike pouncey, tannehill, wallace and jordan, lots of payroll, problems with puncy and jordan, limited production from tannehill, no one to throw to wallace...how they get there by the start of next season is up to dennis hickey..not sure jordan has much value but wallace and pouncey do..tannehill is probably worth a number 3 pick since he would be a decent backup..btw, dont see how philbin makes it to 2015, just not enough horses on this team to achieve anything

lebron and his team are doing their due diligence as they should; what that means down the road is unknown to all parties involved

jmike

joe r, Joe Joe, So you want to a path away from a third year QB who threw for 3900 yard, 60% comp, 24 TD's really really. Not to smart are you Joe. And a path away from an All Pro center. Smart????????????? Not.

Ronnie b

The Miami Heat are in more trouble than they realize right now and they are going to be the last ones to get it. But it might be too late by then....Bosh and Wade are two proud stars who don't know when they're past their prime years. They are fooling themselves if they think that they should still make anywhere around 13 to 15 million a season. Let's see you got other stars like Dirk and Duncan, Tony Parker and Ginobli all making around the 10 million range with no problem to improve the team around them. And these two clowns that's right i said clowns. Can't believe i'm calling my boy Wade a clown but that's how he's carrying himself right now. Pat Riley can't improve the team with what's left if they demand top dollar. Someone in their camp need to be truthful with them that they are not those type of players anymore. Maybe Bosh can somewhere else only because of his name and age but his play does not support it. Stars are the last people to realize when they are past their prime and these two clearly clearly are misguided in their thinking and value.

Dolph Schayes

Don't blame Lebron for exploring all options, but as a fan, you question this guys loyalty and stay the course mentality. Never mind, its just this generations approach to everything in life.

Bruce

No one would give a 3rd rd pick for Tannehill. He's just horrible.

TIMMY'S NUTSACK

21-16

4-8

7 game losing streak

NO BOWL

HUSH NERD

Just Saying

Ryan Tannehill ranked 37th in pass yd/attempt. He also got shutout by lowly Buffalo!!.....with the playoffs on the line. Who the heck wants that?

Just Saying

So... Pouncey was doing ecstasy Jordan doin PED's and Incognito's in the funny farm. Did Ireland do ANY backround checks?

joe r

jmike seems to think tannehill and puncey are keepers, just sayin, bruce and joe r think they arent

Bruce

The Dullfins will go 7-9

2 watt

still need
a qb

2 watt

no oline = tpuke mashed potatoes
.
lol

1 2 »

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