CLEVELAND — Rich Paul, the agent for LeBron James, has met with the Cleveland Cavaliers to discuss the Cavs’ interest in signing the Miami Heat star and four-time NBA MVP, sources told FOX Sports Ohio on Thursday.
The meeting took place in Cleveland, where Paul’s office is based, sources said. Paul also met with the Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks, according to an ESPN report. Joe Lull of 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland was the first to report the possible meetings involving the Cavs, Suns and Mavs, and later confirmed all.
FOX Sports Ohio reported Wednesday that James had begun to assess teams outside Miami that had expressed an interest. James opted out of his contract last week and is reportedly seeking a maximum deal that will play him more than $20 million next season.
A source told FOX Sports Ohio on Thursday evening that the Cavs have "without question" talked to Paul. It is believed the Cavs pitched overall roster flexibility and ability to add a third star next to James and point guard Kyrie Irving should the situation arise.
James has not visited with any of his suitors in person, and sources have said he is allowing Paul to conduct behind-the-scenes talks based on James’ preferences.
The source told FOX Sports Ohio that James is not likely to go through the meet-and-greet scenarios of 2010, when he entered free agency as a member of the Cavs. Instead, the source said when James does reach a decision, he will make it known in a manner "that is likely to be bam, this is where I’m going."
Fellow stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh joined James in opting out of their contracts last week. Initial reports stated Wade and Bosh did so with intent to re-sign at significantly lower salaries and enable the Heat’s star nucleus to remain intact.
Also, while it’s been reported James, Wade and Bosh opted out to give Heat president Pat Riley time to improve the team, "the reality is LeBron is watching all the teams that interest him," a source said.
One NBA agent who does not represent any of the Heat players told FOX Sports Ohio he’s heard James is leaning toward a return to the Miami, but has not ruled out anyone.
Cavs officials have said two maximum contracts, or near-max contracts, are possible in the right scenario.
Meanwhile, Suns owner Robert Sarver spoke about his team’s pursuit of James in The Arizona Republic.
"We are in a good position," Sarver told the newspaper. "We have a lot to offer, too, with the depth of our roster compared to some of the other teams. We think we have a favorable opportunity, but obviously he’ll make his decision when he wants to make it. He’s a smart player and a smart businessman. He’ll look at the facts and make a decision."