CLEVELAND (AP) — Four years after their messy breakup, the Cavaliers and LeBron James are at least talking about a reunion.
officials met with James' agent, Rich Paul, this week about the
free-agent superstar's possible return. The sides visited as James
continued his family vacation, a person with knowledge of the details
told The Associated Press on Thursday night.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the talks.
It was not immediately clear if owner Dan Gilbert was at the meeting.
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.
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
James' decision to leave Cleveland — Thursday was the
four-year anniversary of the team's last pitch to him — prompted 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.
has reported that Paul also met with representatives for the Phoenix
Suns, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks. A photo of Mavericks owner
Mark Cuban in Cleveland circulated on Twitter, though he said he was
there for a commitment for his TV show, "Shark Tank."
has been out of the country with his wife, Savannah, and their two sons,
Paul has been working on the four-time MVP's future. Unlike four years
ago, when teams flocked to Cleveland to make presentations to woo James,
the courtship of him this time has been low key and rather
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 gotten All-Star
point guard Kyrie Irving to agree to a five-year, $90 million contract
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.
don't know. I think 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."
fans, most of them anyway, have gotten over James' infamous "Decision,"
when he announced he was leaving on a nationally televised special. He
was booed mercilessly in his first games back with the Heat, but in
recent years he has been received more favorably. Maybe that's because
the Cavs haven't been to the playoffs since he left and Clevelanders
know he might be the only chance they have to see a championship in
Cleveland hasn't won a title in any of the major sports since 1964.
If he were to come back, James could repair the damage he did to his image when he left.
But that remains a big 'if.'
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.
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.
for James to play again in Cleveland, he and Gilbert would have to have
some sort of reconciliation. Gilbert's letter — famously typed in comic
sans font — was a blistering attack on James, who had carried the Cavs
to the NBA Finals in 2007 but failed to deliver on his promise of a
championship. Gilbert had guaranteed the Cavs would win a title before
James, but later regretted the prediction.
"Looking back now, that probably was not the most brilliant thing I've ever done in my life," Gilbert said.
He and James may get a second chance together.