A LeBron James move from Cleveland to Miami appears increasingly likely as the clock counts down to his decision.
Article continues below ...
Numerous reports Thursday morning said James is likely to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh with the Miami Heat, a development that positions the team as an immediate NBA contender.
Newsday reported James was leaning toward Miami, and ESPN has reported James will join the Heat barring a change of heart before his scheduled announcement.
"I’ll be watching," Wade told The Associated Press. "We’ve scheduled it. I’ll make sure I’m in front of the TV (Thursday) at 9 to watch like everyone else."
Opting for Miami could cost James millions of dollars in salary. The Cavaliers could sign James to a six-year contract for about $125 million. Assuming he splits the available cap space evenly with Bosh and Wade, the most James could get in Miami would be five years and about $90 million. The difference is somewhat mitigated by the lack of a state income tax in Florida.
Miami got help Wednesday when the NBA announced a new salary cap number about $2 million higher than expected.
James, Bosh and Wade signed matching contracts in 2006, setting up this summer’s free agency intrigue. They are all represented by the same company, CAA, and have been in frequent communication recently, The Plain Dealer reported.
James reportedly will disclose his plans within the first 10 minutes of his hour-long announcement special on ESPN, presumably bringing closure to a saga that has existed to some extent for two years.
"It’s gotten ridiculous," Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said. "It’s almost like a parody of itself this whole situation now. Come on, an hour long? It takes 15 seconds to say I’ve decided to stay in Cleveland but we’ve got another 59 minutes and 45 seconds to, what? Promote LeBron James?"
Later on Thursday, James showed up at his basketball camp, hours before his announcement in Greenwich, Conn., and arriving with former teammate Damon Jones. James wore a T-shirt and shorts and took a seat to watch high school stars play at Cleveland State University.
Meanwhile, down in Miami, the Heat were already winners at the box office.
Season-ticket sales for the coming Heat season were suspended Thursday afternoon, after the entire supply of available seats were sold out.
That doesn’t mean all 19,600 seats are gone for the 41 home games. Not every seat has been released for sale yet, and some will be held back for single-game purchases as well.
The Heat declined comment on the ticket situation.