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Live Blog: Bosh and Wade to sign with Heat

A file photo shows Utah Jazz's Carlos Boozer

A file photo shows Utah Jazz's Carlos Boozer (5) greeting Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) before an NBA basketball game, in Cleveland. (March 17, 2007) Photo Credit: AP

BOOZER SIGNS 5-YEAR DEAL TO BE CHICAGO'S NEW BULLY

In a day that has nearly cleared the list of top-rated free agents, Carlos Boozer is the latest player to sign a big contract. He has agreed to a five-year deal in the neighborhood of $80-million with the Bulls today, according to multiple reports.

With about $30 million in salary-cap room, the Bulls were looking to make a big splash in free agency after back-to-back first-round playoff exits.

Boozer's name has come up in trade discussions involving the Bulls over the past few years. They nearly traded for him last summer in a deal that would have sent Tyrus Thomas to Utah.

Boozer averaged 19.5 points and 11.2 rebounds per game for the Utah Jazz last season, his sixth with the team. In his eight-year career, he has averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per contest.

WADE AND BOSH SET MIAMI ON FIRE

Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh announced moments ago they will both sign with the Heat.

Shown side-by-side on ESPN, Bosh and Wade looked relieved and exhausted, both with heavy bags beneath their eyes.

"I'm back in 'Wade' County," Wade said first. Bosh followed, "I'm joining Mr. Wade in Miami."

The manic off-season scramble is almost sorted. 

Bosh said "we always wanted to play together," and affirmed that it was always his vision to play wherever Wade went this season.

Wade said the custody battle over his children in Chicago was a matter of great concern, but he had to separate the issue from his basketball life: "Eventually of course it came down to Chris and his decision to play in Miami with me and I coudln't pass up that opportunity. And to all my fans in Chicago, that's where my heart will be ... Chicago is my heart and it always will be ... I couldn't make this an emotional decision, that's why I didn't go to Chicago." 

Wade said he wants more players to join them in Miami: "This is not about the money. I'm here in Miami to build a championship. If it was about the money then Chris would not be here ... he would have taken a sign and trade ...This is about winning a championship ... To see who else we can get down here and I'm not opposed to taking less money to do that."

Wade said he is unsure if Riley will come back. 

Bosh on a last pitch to LeBron:"Nah, I'm [going to] let him do his thing. He's doing his camp and he needs to concentrate on that. He's got enough people in his ear. Good luck LeBron."

And here is Dwyane Wade's YouTube message to Miami Heat fans:

LEBRON TO ANNOUNCE "DECISION" TOMORROW AT 9 PM ON ESPN

Whether LeBron James, the golden goose of this summer's free-agent class, will join them remains to be seen.  James will announce his decision at 9 p.m. Thursday during a one-hour special on ESPN.  

Called "The Decision," the end of LeBronathan will  donate all proceeds from the show to Boys & Girls Club of America in support of James’ vision to construct basketball courts for youth across the country.  

ESPN is devoting nearly the entire afternoon and evening to the final finish of LeBronathan, beginning with a 3-hour Sportscenter that will lead into the 9 pm "Decision." ESPN's Stuart Scott will host the show, and he will be joined by ESPN NBA analysts Michael Wilbon and Jon Barry.  Freelance reporter Jim Gray will conduct the first interview with James in which he announces his decision.  Wilbon will also have an extensive interview with James. 

DUDLEY AND THE TWITTER TWISTER

Players and media are tweeting madly about what will happen in the next day leading up to "The Decision." 

Here is the most recent tweet from Suns forward Jared Dudley: "Breaking News! My sources tell me LeBron will sign the [sic] KNICKS tomorrow on ESPN. This is serious. WOW! (now you have sources?!)"

 WORST CASE SCENARIOS FOR TEAMS LEFT OUT OF "THE DECISION"

Here is a list of the teams that have the most to lose tomorrow night:

  1. Knicks
  2. Cavs
  3. Nets
  4. Clippers 

Follow Alan on Twitter (twitter.com/alanhahn) for all of the latest news. He'll be contributing to the blog today and coming out with how all of this affects the Knicks in tomorrow's issue. 

 DURANT MAKES THUNDEROUS TWEET: AGREES TO EXTENSION 

While free agency news was eclipsed today by Wade and Bosh heading to South Beach and LeBron getting his own wing in Bristol, a decision that may shape the landscape of the NBA most significantly happened in Oklahoma City.

Kevin Durant has agreed to sign a 5-year, $86 million extension with the Thunder. 

The 21-year-old MVP runner up can’t sign the deal until Thursday and team spokesman Brian Facchini said he could not confirm the deal under NBA rules.  However, on his Twitter page, Durant said, "Exstension for 5 more years wit the thunder....God Is Great, me and my family came a long way...I love yall man forreal, this a blessing!”

PLAN B FOR THE BULLS 

Losing out on a possible dream team, Chicago will start looking into David Lee and Carlos Boozer at power forward according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. The team is also looking for a new suitor at shooting guard, the top options including J.J. Redick or Ray Allen

A team of Joakim Noah, Lee/Boozer, Redick/Allen, Derrick Rose and Luol Deng would be a good starting five.

But don't be fooled, there is plenty of room for a worst case scenario. The Bulls, spoken of highly for having the best starting pieces for a championship team, may have to rely on those pieces to carry a depleted team. 

WHO WILL BE AMAR'E'S BATTERY MATE?

Whoever the Knicks go with at point will have big shoes to fill.  Amar'e played with Steve Nash for six seasons and this year will be a telling sign of the impact Nash had on Amar'e success.  

Stoudemire wants the Knicks to land a point guard who has skills like Nash and that's why, according to the New York Post, he hopes Luke Ridnour joins him in New York.

Other targets include Raymond Felton and Jason Williams via free agency or Monta Ellis of Golden State via a sign-and-trade for David Lee.

CAN YOU TEACH AN OLD CENTER NEW TRICKS?

Shaquille O'Neal and the Mavericks have been linked together in some of the rumors, but if Dallas does sign an O'Neal, it won't be Shaq. According to The Dallas Morning News, center Jermaine O'Neal is more desirable.

The team may look to sign him using their mid-level exception. They are not interested in a deal that would include Michael Beasley.

The Celtics need to find some big men and The Boston Globe reports the team will meet with Kwame Brown on Wedndesday and they could also have some interest in Shaquille O'Neal.

"Nothing is out of the question, we need a big," head coach Doc Rivers told the Globe . "Shaq, everybody is in play. No doubt. We haven't done anything yet, but I think everybody's in play. I will wait [on talking about O'Neal]. If the day comes that we sign him, then I will make more comments."

MSG STOCK SOARS

The price of MSG stock shot up near 6% early Tuesday on the inking of Amar'e Stoudemire. 

Could the increase be due to some insider trading involving LeBron's future? Doubtful.  It's probably because of Stoudemire, the first sign of optimism since the team spiraled into oblivion a decade ago.

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