LeBron James has begun to assess teams outside the Miami Heat that have expressed an interest in signing him in free agency, a source close to the process told FOX Sports Ohio on Wednesday.
James has not visited with any suitors, and sources said interested parties have been unable to connect with him directly. Instead, James is having Cleveland-based agent Rich Paul 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."
James and fellow Heat stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh opted 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.
However, a source told FOX Sports Ohio that Bosh is seeking a deal worth up to $90 million over five years. With James reportedly demanding a maximum contract that would pay him more than $20 million next season, the Heat’s plans to add significant help to the roster could be in jeopardy.
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," the source said.
Cavs officials have said two maximum contracts, or near-max contracts, are possible in the right scenario.