It also limits the Heat's ability to add Carmelo Anthony, which Riley termed a pipe dream at a news conference last week anyway. James reportedly is seeking a bigger payday, which would eliminate the chance of the Heat's Big Three and Anthony all taking significant pay cuts to join forces.
Not that Anthony's camp ever gave much credence to that notion. In fact, the Heat reportedly are not even on Anthony's list of teams to visit. The Bulls are, and though official contact can't take place until 11:01 p.m. Monday, Anthony is expected to hear the Bulls' pitch early this week, likely visiting Tuesday.
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Unofficially, it already could've started. Anthony and Bulls Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen have been in Paris together at a Nike event. And the wives of Anthony and Pippen are close.
Anthony also is expected to visit the Rockets, Mavericks and Lakers. Given the rugged state of the Western Conference, several league executives believe Anthony's choice will come down to the Knicks and Bulls.
The Knicks can pay Anthony more than any other team.
Shooting star: General manager Gar Forman made clear on draft night that the Bulls plan to add Nikola Mirotic either this season or next. The Bulls' relationship with Mirotic and his representatives is strong, and all understand his negotiations are contingent on what happens with Anthony and free agency in general.
For instance, if the Bulls somehow acquire Anthony via a sign-and-trade, they keep their salary-cap exceptions and could negotiate a Mirotic deal using those. If they sign Anthony outright via cap space, it's unlikely enough money is left to sign Mirotic.
And if the Bulls fail to land Anthony, their attempts to upgrade the roster would be via cap space created by the expected amnesty of Carlos Boozer. In this scenario, the Bulls likely would be more aggressive in their attempts to sign Mirotic this summer.
Mirotic owns a more expensive buyout this summer, at roughly $3 million, than next.
Layups: The Bulls will introduce draft picks Doug McDermott and Cameron Bairstow at 11 a.m. Monday at the Berto Center. McDermott will wear No. 3. ... The Bulls also soon will release their summer league roster. Beyond Tony Snell, the Bulls have signed Canisius star Billy Baron, whose father, Jim, coached him. In the 1970s, Jim Baron served as a Notre Dame assistant coach when John Paxson played there.