NBA Report: LeBron decision, perhaps owner’s plane, up in air
A few news and notes as NBA free agency begins to take its typical crazy turns:
• Social media exploded Sunday with a Twitter report Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was headed to South Florida on his private plane. Then Gilbert said he wasn’t on the plane. "Sorry folks, but enjoying weather in my backyard today," he tweeted.
• Later, the Associated Press tweeted a picture of Gilbert’s plane in South Florida. It was revealed former Cavs center Zydrunas Ilaguaskas, who continues to have ties to the organization, was in South Florida as well.
• Obviously, all of this led to intense speculation the Cavs and Ilguaskas were in Miami, or near Miami, to make a free-agent pitch to Heat star LeBron James. None of these rumors, of course, have been verified. Although it’s hard to doubt photographic evidence from a respected news organization such as the AP.
• Several sources told FOX Sports Ohio that Ilgauskas was not on the plane. Rather, it was said he was already in Miami. Sources also said the Cavs took an entire group there. Meanwhile, some sources would neither confirm nor deny anything involving the Cavs, Florida, or James because of the sensitivity of the subject.
• One source who said there was a Cavs contingent in Miami would provide no other information, only to say the trip was something that came together fairly quickly.
• The same source later said of James: "A few years ago (the Cavs) were told he would never return. Never is getting closer." The source warned, however, that no agreement between the Cavs and James was in place.
• James and agent Rich Paul are scheduled to meet with Heat president Pat Riley later in the week. The news was first reported by USA Today, then repeated by several other outlets. This is an interesting development because at the end of the season, James indicated he wouldn’t need to conduct a face-to-face meeting with the Heat. He already knew what they were about, he said.
• NBA D-League forward Kenny Kadji, who was in training camp with the Cavs as an undrafted rookie, tweeted this Sunday night: "It will be a sad day for Miami fans tomorrow!!! #Wontsayanymore." Kadji played college ball at the University of Miami. He later deleted the tweet.
• As reported by FOX Sports Ohio on Saturday, Heat free-agent big man Chris Bosh is said to be uncertain of LeBron’s plans. Bosh stated he would prefer to return to the Heat, but now he and the Rockets reportedly have a mutual interest. He is likely to wait for James’ decision before making a move.
• Unlike 2010, the Cavs feel like they are in a very good spot whether James returns or not. They think they already have a good group with Kyrie Irving, Andrew Wiggins and others. If James wants to join the group, great. If not, that’s OK too. At least, that seems to be the thinking. Of course, the Cavs would much prefer to have James than not have him. That makes them no different from any other team.
• As also reported by FOX Sports Ohio on Saturday, Paul was said to be impressed with what the Cavs have done, and what they can still do, with the roster. The sides met last week.
• If James chooses to leave Miami and return to Cleveland, the Cavs still feel they can obtain Timberwolves star Kevin Love in a trade if need be, sources reiterated Sunday.
• It is also quite possible that if James returns to the Cavs, longtime NBA sharpshooter Ray Allen would join him. Allen was a member of the Heat the previous two seasons, and has said he would like to play for the team James chooses in free agency. Allen is a free agent as well.
• One team has already offered the Cavs a huge trade exception and expiring contracts this summer, sources said.