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Reported LeBron James meeting with Heat has media aflutter

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.

USA Today Sports first reported the plans for James and Riley to discuss matters.

The news of the planned Riley-James meeting came toward the end of a wild Sunday, sparked by news that one of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert's private jets was heading to South Florida. And the plane did land at an airport in Fort Lauderdale around 6:40 p.m., albeit at a different facility than the flight plan indicated, for reasons that were not made clear.

The plane stayed for about 3½ hours. It was unknown who was on the plane.

Still, the mere notion of a James-Cavaliers reunion seems to have Cleveland - the team the Akron, Ohio, native spent his first seven seasons with before leaving for Miami - on anxious edge.

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 Cavaliers, Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks while the four-time NBA MVP was vacationing last week.

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 - and Miami has been to the NBA Finals all four years that it has had James in uniform, winning two championships. When James made the highly expected move to opt out and become a free agent this summer, 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 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.

LeBon, Riley To Meet


AP Sports Writer Tom Withers in Cleveland contributed to this report.

Join the discussion

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MAD_DAWG1 July 07 2014 at 8:01 AM


Flag Reply +7 rate up
2 replies
mjdubb8 MAD_DAWG1 July 07 2014 at 9:40 AM

Kinda seems like you do!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
rozenm1005 MAD_DAWG1 July 07 2014 at 10:03 AM

Who cares? Obviously YOU! Oh, and you're commenting, and in doing so, NO YELLING!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
dredselw July 07 2014 at 7:16 AM

Basketball is not brain surgery! LeBron is a freak of nature who is lucky to have the NBA!

Flag Reply +6 rate up
1 reply
Kurtcobainskyblueyes dredselw July 07 2014 at 7:53 AM

Why would you say something so mean about someone you don't know. And even if you did know James, why so ignorant a comment and person? GOD wants us to love each other, and what you said is going straight to HIS ears! I just would like to know why, really why!

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smc264 July 07 2014 at 6:48 AM

Lebron go back to Cleveland !!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
billybuttlooker smc264 July 07 2014 at 11:10 AM

they don't want him

Flag Reply 0 rate up
bigdaddyword July 07 2014 at 8:38 AM

If your tall, black, and dumb then basketball is for you. This sport is a joke. Make a ball in a circle. "wow" the military should get paid the big money. Without them we wouldn't have the freedom we have and this beautiful country. Think about it, where would we be without these brave military people. Thank you all for your service. Lebron is selfish and he should already be happy with what he makes. That just shows how ignorant he is

Flag Reply +2 rate up
2 replies
Frank bigdaddyword July 07 2014 at 10:17 AM

Your racist hatered is showing. What about the tall, white and dumb players in the NBA. I am sure you never served. Why not? Oh, that is right, many of the people in the service are black and you might have to live with "them".

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Van bigdaddyword July 07 2014 at 2:49 PM

You are so right!!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
dl0007 July 07 2014 at 6:37 AM

Come back to Cleveland and I'll pick you up at Cleveland Hopkins, Akron - Canton, LAX, or anywhere! Take you out to dinner, my treat, or ANYPLACE you want to go!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
2 replies
buddwhyzr dl0007 July 07 2014 at 7:29 AM

Yeah...a ride and dinner. I'll bet his agent is drawing up a contract on that generous offer.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
MAD_DAWG1 dl0007 July 07 2014 at 8:02 AM

You going to go to bed with him after dinner

Flag Reply +1 rate up
vietnamvet1967 July 07 2014 at 7:47 AM

Who care's where he goes

Flag Reply +2 rate up
Vic Abbate July 07 2014 at 7:02 AM

LBJ would be a fool to return to the Cleveland where he would fade into obscurity but you never knoww

Flag Reply +1 rate up
George July 07 2014 at 7:37 AM

Dear Lebro,
As a life-time Cleveland fan, we would love for you TO STAY IN MIAMI!!!!!!!
You are not all that, to me you chock under pressure.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
rozenm1005 George July 07 2014 at 10:06 AM

funny expression....chock under pressure...have to remember that!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
twalsh4440 July 07 2014 at 6:38 AM

Go to Cleveland if you can but It doesn't matter where you go you will be loved. Greatest BBall player ever & CLASSIEST MORE IMPORTANT

Flag Reply +1 rate up
2 replies
dw4422 twalsh4440 July 07 2014 at 8:36 AM

Greatest I think not...classiest.....not even in the top hundred...dennis rodman has more class...

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Frank twalsh4440 July 07 2014 at 10:12 AM

He could not carry MJ's jock strap. Plus, at least MJ knew enough to be a jerk in private while he was playing.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
bbnpl4545 July 07 2014 at 11:14 AM

You see he could care less about you fans that pour money into his pocket. As soon as someone is willing to give him more. he drops you like a rock. The NBA does not care about the fans. Just your money.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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