The Cleveland Cavaliers are a real possibility for LeBron James in free agency, and much of the agenda for a Cleveland return is being driven by James’s agent, Rich Paul, according to a Yahoo! Sports report.
James has a face-to-face meeting with Miami Heat president Pat Riley later this week, but Paul, James’s childhood friend, has already met with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, according to ESPN. A face-to-face meeting between James and the Cavs could follow.
A Cleveland reunion might have seemed impossible after the way James left the city to sign with Miami four years ago. Following James’s very public decision, fans burned his jerseys in the streets on national television. Gilbert famously busted out the comic sans font to slam James in an open letter to Cavaliers fans. The letter read, in part:
As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier. …This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his “decision” unlike anything ever “witnessed” in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment. … I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER “KING” WINS ONE.
Surprisingly, that letter remained on the Cavaliers’ official team website until yesterday, but it appears to have been taken down Monday.
Paul is handling James’s free agency while the superstar sits on the sidelines, according to the Yahoo! Report. LeBron’s silence has made it difficult for Riley and the Heat to pitch Miami as a destination for other free agents, according to the report, because the players want to know, “‘Do I get to hear from LeBron? What’s he going to do?’ “
It remains to be seen whether or not James and his agent are toying with Cleveland once again or seriously intend to consider the team as an option. The Cavs, who are trying to clear enough cap space to sign James to a max deal, have All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving and rookie Andrew Wiggins signed up for the next five seasons.