The NBA’s most coveted free agent, LeBron James, met with Heat president Pat Riley, and the team’s general manager, Andy Elisburg, in Las Vegas today. However, according to an ESPN report, James has not decided if he will return to Miami, where has gone to the past four NBA finals, winning two, or if he will leave for another team.
NBA analyst Chris Sheridan reported today on his blog that “The Decision has been made. LeBron James is returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers, a league source tells SheridanHoops.com.” Sheridan added:
James met with Miami Heat president Pat Riley today in Las Vegas to deliver the news. A contingent of other Heat officials were informed they were not welcome at the meeting, according to a source who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Cavaliers made moves today that appeared to pave the way for a possible return to the team by James. Cleveland traded away three players (Jarrett Jack, Sergey Karasev and Tyler Zeller) and a protected 2016 first-round pick in deal involving the Nets and Celtics. In return, the Cavs received a second-round pick from the Celtics and the rights to three players (Edin Bavcic, Christian Drejer and Ilkan Karaman). More significantly, the trade frees up enough room under the salary cap for Cleveland to offer James a maximum contract.
In addition, Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that if the Cavaliers get James, they will pursue a trade for Minnesota star Kevin Love. Wojnarowski added:
The Timberwolves will demand Andrew Wiggins, the Cavs’ No. 1 overall pick from last month’s NBA draft, be a part of any proposed deal, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Other dominoes waiting to fall are Chris Bosh, Chandler Parsons and Trevor Ariza. Bosh would like to re-join James in Miami, but if that doesn’t happen, he will accept Houston’s reported offer of four years for $96 million. Houston needs to have some clarity on that situation very soon, because Parsons, its own restricted free agent, will reportedly sign an offer sheet on Thursday from the Mavericks. The deal would be worth over $45 million for three years, and once Parsons signs it, the Rockets will have three days to possibly match it. However, matching means not having the salary space to actually go through with their offer to Bosh, so Houston seems to be in a bit of a bind.
Ariza, a free agent whom the Wizards would like to bring back, could be a target of the Cavaliers if they miss out on James, according to Wojnarowski.
One can only imagine that Cavs fans are on an emotional roller-coaster ride right now. That could turn into a literal event if James does choose Cleveland, according to this tweet from Cedar Point amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio:
— Cedar Point (@cedarpoint) July 9, 2014