Mavericks Chandler Parsons Jersey

One year after serving as the Dallas Mavericks’ unofficial recruiting coordinator, forward Chandler Parsons(Chandler Parsons Jersey) looks forward to being recruited by other franchises.

Parsons eagerly anticipates exploring his options in free agency as the Mavericks plan to prioritize other targets, sources told ESPN, although a return to Dallas remains a possibility.

“He’ll be all ears,” one source said.

With the salary cap spiking to a projected $94 million, giving the majority of NBA teams the salary-cap space to sign a free agent to a maximum deal, sources say Parsons’ camp remains confident that he will command a max contract with a starting annual salary of $22 million.

Dallas’ Plan A this summer — aside from the pipe dream of persuading Kevin Durant to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder for a team the Western Conference finalists dismissed in five games in the first round — is to sign Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley and Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside.

If the Mavs are successful, assuming Conley and Whiteside get max contracts as widely expected, they would not have the cap space required to keep Parsons. Dallas is willing to take the risk of Parsons committing to another team as the Mavs pursue Conley and Whiteside, who sources say have mutual interest in the team. The Mavs expect to open free agency by meeting with Whiteside.

The Mavs, according to sources, remain interested in keeping Parsons if they aren’t able to persuade Conley and/or Whiteside to come to Dallas. However, the Mavs have made it clear to Parsons that they do not intend to offer him a max contract to keep him after his first two seasons in Dallas ended prematurely because of surgeries on his right knee.

A max contract for Parsons with the Mavs, who own his early Bird rights, would be worth $98.4 million over four years. Other teams can offer him $94.1 million over four years.

“It’s a question of dollars and injury status,” Dallas president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said when asked about the possibility of re-signing Parsons during exit interviews before the Mavs had homed in on Conley and Whiteside.

Parsons, 27, had hybrid microfracture surgery on the knee in spring of 2015, and the rehab from that operation lasted well into the 2015-16 season. The arthroscopic operation Parsons underwent this spring to address a torn meniscus in the knee wasn’t nearly as serious as the previous surgery.

Sources say multiple renowned orthopedic specialists have given Parsons clearance to resume full basketball activities and expressed optimism that his knee would not prevent him from having a long, productive NBA career.

Parsons averaged 13.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 61 games last seasons, statistics skewed by a slow start as he dealt with strict minutes restrictions. He had the best statistical stretch of his five-year career in the two months before his season ended, averaging 18.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game while shooting 51.9 percent from the floor and 47.7 percent from 3-point range and proving he could thrive at power forward in addition to small forward.

The Mavs have showed flexibility in the recent past during negotiations. Their three most high-profile free-agent acquisitions of the past five years — Parsons and guards Wesley Matthews and Monta Ellis — all signed for significantly more money than the Mavs offered at the start of negotiations.

Sources said Mavs owner Mark Cuban attempted to persuade Parsons this month to opt in for the final season of the three-year, $46 million deal the forward signed in the summer of 2014, when the Houston Rockets declined to match the offer to keep him as a restricted free agent. Parsons, the sources say, never seriously considered staying in Dallas for the $16 million salary, certain that he’d land a long-term deal with a large raise in free agency.

The Mavs see Justin Anderson as a potential starter at small forward if Parsons leaves, according to team sources. Anderson, the 21st overall pick in last year’s draft, played sparingly for most of his rookie season but showed promise as a high-energy role player when Parsons’ late-season absence pushed him into a larger role.

The Mavs have identified Orlando Magic restricted free agent Evan Fournier and unrestricted free agents Kent Bazemore, Evan Turner and Marvin Williams as possible replacements for Parsons if they have cap space to spend on a small forward, according to a source.

J.R. Smith Womens Jersey

Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith(J.R. Smith Jersey) will not pick up his player option and will become a free agent on July 1, sources told ESPN.com.

Smith has until midnight Thursday to pick up the option for $5.3 million for next season. As has been expected for months, Smith will let it pass and test the market.

Had Smith elected to opt in, his salary for next season was only partially guaranteed.

He averaged 12.4 points and made a career-high 204 3-pointers, shooting 40 percent on them, with Cleveland during the 2015-16 regular season. He became the Cavs’ starting shooting guard mostly because of his improved defense. He has averaged 11.4 points and shot 44 percent on 3-pointers during this postseason.

Cleveland.com first reported Smith elected to test free agency.

Cavaliers LeBron James Jersey

Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James(LeBron James Jersey) has called Muhammad Ali the greatest athlete of all time. But on Friday afternoon, hours before Ali died at age 74, James said it was Ali’s work and influence outside the boxing ring that he will remember most, a sentiment he expressed again speaking to the media on Saturday .

“When I was a kid, I was amazed by what Ali did in the ring,” James told ESPN.com on Friday. “As I got older and started to read about him and watch things about him, I started to realize what he did in the ring was secondary to what he meant outside of the ring — just his influence, what he stood for.”

James reiterated that sentiment Saturday.

“Obviously, we knew how great of a boxer he was, but I think that was only 20 percent of what made him as great as he was,” James told reporters in Oakland. “What he stood for, I mean, it’s a guy who basically had to give up a belt and relish everything that he had done because of what he believed in and ended up in jail because of his beliefs. It’s a guy who stood up for so many different things throughout the times where it was so difficult for African-Americans to even walk in the streets.”

As an African-American, James said Ali is largely responsible for his ability to enjoy not only fame and wealth as a professional athlete but also the opportunities that come with it.

“The reason why he’s the GOAT is not because of what he did in the ring, which was unbelievable,” James told ESPN.com, referring to the acronym commonly attached to Ali, which stands for “greatest of all time.”

“It’s what he did outside of the ring, what he believed in, what he stood for, along with Jim Brown and Oscar Robertson, Lew Alcindor — obviously, who became Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] — Bill Russell, Jackie Robinson. Those guys stood for something. He’s part of the reason why African-Americans today can do what we do in the sports world. We’re free. They allow us to have access to anything we want. It’s because of what they stood for, and Muhammad Ali was definitely the pioneer for that.”

James said Saturday that Ali “paved the way for guys like myself.”

“Today I can sit and go to China and make trips to China and all over the world and people know my name and know my face,” James said. “I give all credit to Muhammad Ali because he was the first icon.”

James spoke to ESPN.com on Friday after the Cavaliers practiced for Sunday’s Game 2 of the NBA Finals (the Warriors lead 1-0). At 31, James is too young to have seen Ali fight, but he said he has watched footage of Ali on networks such as ESPN Classic.

On Aug. 28, 2010, James tweeted, “Muhammad Ali is the #greatestofalltime reguardless (sic) of sport. Nuff said!”