LeBron James’ second decision could be a lot like his first one after all. Sources from around the league are reporting that James’ agent has met with several teams in the past few days and that LeBron could meet with three “finalists” next week.
UPDATE: Apparently the Lakers are in play for James, too.
@ramonashelburne reports that Mitch Kupchak flying to CLE to meet with LeBron's agent Rich Paul
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 4, 2014
PREVIOUSLY: A story by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein says that Rich Paul, James’ agent, has already held meetings with several teams courting his client.
The agent for LeBron James has met this week with officials from multiple teams interested in courting the four-time league MVP in free agency, according to sources close to the process.
The exact number of teams to secure face-to-face meetings with Cleveland-based agent Rich Paul was not immediately known, but sources told ESPN.com that the Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks have had the opportunity to make presentations to Paul in recent days.
Dan Gilbert, owner of James’ home state Cavaliers, also has met with Paul or will do so soon, a source told ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard. Gilbert, who lives in Detroit, is in Cleveland, according to the source.
Sources told Broussard that Suns owner Robert Sarver met with Paul on Wednesday and pitched the idea of luring James from the Miami Heat to the desert by trying to sign Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh as well.
According to Windhorst and Stein, the Suns, Mavericks, Rockets, and Cavaliers have all made successful contact with James’ camp.
Conspicuously absent from that list are the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers, two teams that are known to covet LeBron. It’s also headline-grabbing that James is open to hearing from Cleveland. Some assumed that Gilbert burned all bridges after his scathing response to LeBron’s departure in 2010, but ESPN’s report makes it seem possible that he could return to the Cavaliers despite Gilbert’s presence and the team’s consistently awful performance since LeBron left.
Just as important as news that LeBron’s contingency has talked with multiple teams is that he could be prepared to visit with his three favorite potential destinations next week. Hearing from suitors is one thing; meeting them face-to-face is another entirely.
Three finalists could return to Cleveland early next week to make presentations w/ agent and LeBron James present, source tells Yahoo.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 4, 2014
It’s been apparent over the past few days that James isn’t the veritable lock to re-up with the Heat that the consensus has assumed. If Dwyane Wade and Bosh are unwilling to accept large pay-cuts and LeBron is intent on receiving the maximum salary, Pat Riley won’t have the financial firepower to add the quality free agents it will take to substantially improve Miami’s roster. And if that’s the case, it shouldn’t be a surprise that James would take his free agency seriously.
That LeBron is openly considering leaving South Beach is huge news. Now the question is whether or not it becomes anything more than that.
Is this a sign that LeBron will leave Miami?
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