Waiting game: Signing day arrives in the NBA, though top free agents move slowly


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LeBron James speaks on a cellphone during the LeBron James Skills Academy Thursday, July 10, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)


FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2014 file photo, New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony smiles as he watches from the bench during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Bobcats, at Madison Square Garden in New York. Signing day has arrived in the NBA, if the biggest free agents care to grab their pens. But it’s unclear if Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade _ who all might be waiting on LeBron James to go first _ are ready. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File)


FILE - In this Oct. 30, 2013 file photo, Miami Heat's LeBron James, left, and Miami Heat's Chris Bosh are seen during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, in Philadelphia. igning day has arrived in the NBA, if the biggest free agents care to grab their pens. But it’s unclear if Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade _ who all might be waiting on LeBron James to go first _ are ready. (AP Photo/Michael Perez, File)


Fans and media gather in front of LeBron James' home Thursday, July 10, 2014 in Bath Township, Ohio, awaiting his announcement of where he will play next season. (AP Photo/Akron Beacon Journal, Karen Schiely) MANDATORY CREDIT


FILE - This May 13, 2014 file photo shows Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat, left, shooting over Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert during the first half of game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series in Indianapolis. Gortat has signed his five-year, $60 million contract to remain with the Washington Wizards. The Wizards announced Thursday that the Polish center had signed the deal on the first day permitted under NBA free agency rules. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)


Signing day arrived Thursday in the NBA, though the biggest free agents didn't rush to grab their pens.

Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh might be waiting on LeBron James — isn't everybody? — before making their decisions.

There's been no indication when James plans to do so, so Miami and Cleveland waited anxiously — as did fans lining up outside James' Akron, Ohio home, even while he was in Las Vegas.

Knicks President Phil Jackson was hoping Thursday would finally bring a decision from Anthony.

"But I expected one yesterday and the day before yesterday," Jackson said at the Knicks' summer league practice in Las Vegas. "But no, we're waiting."

In the meantime, Kyle Lowry and Marcin Gortat signed contracts to remain with their teams, while Chandler Parsons and Gordon Hayward inked offer sheets that could land them on new ones.

Teams and players could negotiate and agree to deals since July 1, but contracts couldn't be signed or trades made until Thursday, after the moratorium period ended and next season's salary cap was set.

Most of the best free agents have usually committed by the time they can sign, though that hasn't been the case this year, largely because of the holdup caused by Miami's Big Three and Anthony.

Bosh may want to wait on the word from James to decide whether he wants to remain in Miami. Anthony was perhaps holding out in case there was some way he, too, could end up partnering somewhere with the four-time MVP.

While they wait, so do players such as Pau Gasol, Lance Stephenson, Luol Deng and Paul Pierce, who are on the next tier of free agents available.

Not everybody is waiting around. Lowry signed his deal to stay in Toronto on Thursday, which Yahoo Sports previously reported was for $48 million over four years. He had heard from Miami and Houston, but liked his situation with the Atlantic Division champions.

"Other teams had some great things and I think they had pieces that were comparable pieces, but I think the situation that I'm in, the age I'm @, me being able to lead a team, to lead a team and grow as a person, that was a very big factor in it," he said.

Gortat is returning to Washington with a contract that will pay him $60 million over five years. The center from Poland posted a picture of himself signing the papers on his Twitter page, writing that it was the "best day of my life!!!"

A couple of other players might be getting their riches, though it will take a few days. Hayward signed an offer sheet with the Charlotte Hornets that would pay him $63 million over four years. The Utah Jazz have three days to match the offer.

Parsons has a three-year, $45 million offer from Dallas, but he is also a restricted free agent that allows the Rockets the same window to match.

The Rockets are one of the teams believed to be considering Bosh if he does opt to leave Miami, which could affect how they deal with Parsons.

They also met with Anthony, whom New York wants to keep. The Knicks offered him the maximum allowable contract, worth nearly $130 million over five years, when they met with him a week ago in Los Angeles, but are still awaiting word if he is staying put.

"We have alternative plans, Plan B, C, D, E and F, but so far we're still in Plan A," Jackson said. "That's the first kind of kingpin that we have to have in this whole situation."

Same with the Heat, who risk losing James and maybe more. He met with team President Pat Riley on Wednesday in Las Vegas, but so far there has been no decision. Once he announces his plans, the other top dominoes may quickly fall.

Then, perhaps the deals will start getting done.


Associated Press freelance writer Willie Ramirez in Las Vegas contributed to this report.


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