MIAMI (AP) — Before LeBron James makes his next decision, Pat Riley will get a chance to convince him to stay in Miami.
Two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press late Sunday night that James will meet with the Heat president this week before making a decision about where to play next season. The time and location of the meeting were still being scheduled, said the people who spoke on condition of anonymity because neither the Heat nor James announced their plans publicly.
“In the next two or three days,” one of the people said.
Monday would seem difficult, unless James’ schedule changes. He has a commercial shoot planned and was expected to travel to Las Vegas later in the day for his annual camp with some of the nation’s best young basketball players, an event that opens Wednesday. James also has been planning a trip to Brazil for the World Cup final on July 13.
There’s urgency from the Heat perspective as well. NBA players can begin signing new contracts Thursday, with some deals already having been agreed upon and plenty of others likely to fall into place in the coming days, so it would clearly benefit the Heat to know James’ plans sooner than later.
James opted out of his contract with the Heat last month, as did fellow Miami stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. James’ agent, Rich Paul, met with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks while the four-time NBA MVP was vacationing last week. James, from Akron, Ohio, spent his first seven NBA seasons with Cleveland.
James’ decision would figure to set off a wave of other deals. If he stays in Miami, that would almost certainly help convince Wade and Bosh to stay with the Heat. If James returns to Cleveland, the Cavaliers would more than likely have to make a trade of some significance to open up salary cap space.
Riley and the Heat won over James with their sales pitch four years ago. When James opted out, Riley said through the team that he looked forward to having an opportunity to meet with him and discuss their futures together.
Now, it would seem they’ll be discussing if they’ll actually have a future.
The Cavs are hoping they can impress James with a young roster that includes No. 1 overall draft picks in Kyrie Irving, Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins. In the early hours of free agency last week, Irving agreed to a five-year, $90 million contract extension the All-Star point guard is expected to sign Thursday.
Cleveland also has room under the salary cap, but will need to clear more space to offer James a max deal.
One stumbling block for the Cavs could be the fractured relationship between owner Dan Gilbert and James. When James left in 2010, Gilbert wrote a scathing letter to Cleveland fans, condemning the four-time league MVP. He also told the AP he felt James quit in playoff games.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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