Cavaliers set meet with agent to recruit LeBron James: AP source
July 5, 2014, 12:00 am TWN
CLEVELAND -- Four years after their messy breakup, the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James are talking about a reunion.
Cavs officials met with James' agent, Rich Paul, this week about the free-agent superstar's possible return. The sides met as James continued his family vacation, a person with knowledge of the details told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the talks.
James recently opted out of the final two years of his contract in Miami. The two-time NBA champion has gone to four straight finals with the Heat. However, after the team was throttled by San Antonio in this year's finals, James said he would weigh his options this summer.
One of them could be re-signing with the Cavs, the team he spent seven seasons with before leaving in 2010 to join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in South Florida. Wade and Bosh also opted out of their deals with Heat, raising speculation the “Big Three” could be headed in different directions.
James' decision to leave Cleveland prompted owner Dan Gilbert to condemn him in a scathing letter to Cavs fans. The owner also told The AP he felt James had quit during games in the playoffs.
ESPN has reported that Paul also met with representatives for Phoenix, Houston and Dallas.
The Cavs have waited patiently for their chance to try and convince the Akron, Ohio, native to come home. In the past few weeks, the Cavs have hired new coach David Blatt, selected Kansas swingman Andrew Wiggins with the No. 1 overall pick and signed All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving to a five-year, US$90 million contract extension.
Now, they're working on bringing back James, who has never ruled out the possibility of a return.
Two years ago, James was asked if he could ever see himself playing for the Cavs again.
“It would be great,” he said. “It would be fun to play in front of these fans again. I had a lot fun times in my seven years here. You can't predict the future and hopefully I continue to stay healthy. I'm here as a Miami Heat player, and I'm happy where I am now, but I don't rule that out in no sense.
“And if I decide to come back, hopefully the fans will accept me.”
James was booed mercilessly by Cleveland fans in his first games back with the Heat, but in recent years he has been received more favorably.
In having Paul meet with other teams, James could simply be putting on pressure for the Heat to upgrade their roster. Miami has been pursuing free agents and Yahoo Sports reported team president Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra met in Los Angeles with Lakers free agent Pau Gasol. The Heat could have trouble surrounding James with enough talent if the reports he will only accept a maximum contract are accurate.
James is scheduled to be in Las Vegas next week to host a basketball camp, and then is expected to attend the World Cup in Brazil.