Live Blog: James back to Cleveland

From NBA.com staff reports

Free-agents could sign deals yesterday and we saw some movement on that front Thursday, but the guys everyone is waiting to hear from — LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony — still haven’t revealed their choice. We’re here to keep up with everything going on in the free-agency world, so be sure to check back often …

Free Agent Tracker | More Free Agency updates

Update, 12:17 p.m. — LEBRON IS GOING TO CLEVELAND

He tells Sports Illustrated in an exclusive.

Update, 11:58 a.m. — Report: Letter a non-issue?

News about LeBron James, Dan Gilbert and the impact of Gilbert’s letter posted to the Cavs’ website four years ago are flying about. Yahoo! Sports’ Dan Wetzel has an update on just what that letter might actually mean to LBJ …

Update, 11:55 a.m. — That ‘other’ contender in the East

While folks are worrying where you-know-who might be headed, let’s not forget the team that did finish with the best record in the East, the Indiana Pacers. Coach Frank Vogel had a couple of things to say about LeBron, the team’s efforts to land Lance Stephenson and more

(And, ICYMI, the Pacers added to their roster today by adding C.J. Miles and Damjan Rudez and re-signing Lavoy Allen)

Update, 11:03 a.m. — Report: Wade unsure of James’ leaning

LeBron James reportedly boarded a flight to travel from his basketball skills camp in Las Vegas to Miami with his Heat teammate, Dwyane Wade, who was said to be on the flight. Who knows what they talked about, but Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski ventures a sourced report that Wade may have been there to provide a last-minute sales job to James on staying in Miami

Wojnarowski provided another update on that flight and chat, which basically keeps the LeBron decision as ambiguous as its always been …

Update, 10:56 a.m. — Magic officially ink Gordon

The Orlando Magic aren’t expected to make a lot of noise in free agency this summer, but they’ve made one move official that was one of the early shockers of the offseason — signing Ben Gordon to a multi-year deal:

Update, 10:34 a.m. — Pierce out at WSOP

Paul Pierce is one of those many, MANY free agents waiting to make his next move in terms of a roster decision. While he was doing so, he spent some time participating in the World Series of Poker tournament, but, alas, he’s out of the running.

ESPNNewYork.com’s Mike Mazzeo has more:

Paul Pierce made a remarkable run in the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event.

But his dreams of cashing were squashed early Friday morning, when he was eliminated just shy of the money.

According to ESPN.com’s poker expert Andrew Feldman, Pierce finished in around 800th place. The top 693 finishers get paid.

Nevertheless, Pierce has nothing to be ashamed of. This year’s tournament field featured 6,683 entrants, and the future Hall of Fame forward, who played last season with the Brooklyn Nets, nearly made it to Day 4 in the $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Texas Hold ‘Em event.

Pierce was ousted in tough fashion. He went all-in with a board of A-J-3-6-4. Pierce held A-4, two pair, but his opponent, after thinking for a few minutes, called and showed A-J, top two pair. (You can find more details here).

Update, 10:27 a.m. — Hulk Hogan & LeBron James, world changers

Fans of the NBA (and late 1990s pro wrestling) might like this little piece from SI.com’s Extra Mustard crew about how the decisions Hulk Hogan and LeBron James made forever changed sports fandom …

Update, 10:12 a.m. — Morrow getting attention

Most free agents are waiting it out to see what Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James do next. One free agent that continues to draw interest — as our David Aldridge tweeted last night — is New Orleans Pelicans sharpshooter Anthony Morrow

Update, 10:02 a.m. — Some dollars-and-cents facts on LBJ

If LeBron James ends up shifting from Miami to another destination, how does it affect the Heat’s bottom line? ESPN.com’s Darren Rovell spells it out a bit …

Update, 9:18 a.m. — A little look inside the LBJ’s Vegas Camp

The main reason LeBron James was in Las Vegas the last few days was to hold his LeBron James Skills Academy for top-flight high school and college players. The folks over at BallIsLife.com and PointGuardU provide some insight into what went on at the actual camp on the court …

Update, 9:05 a.m. — Just in the neighborhood

He might be in Miami (or who knows where), but hopeful Cavs fans have set up a camp of sorts near LeBron’s home in Ohio

Update 8:46 a.m. — Cleaning up the Bath …

One of the big storylines last night in regards to a potential LeBron James-Cleveland Cavaliers reunion was that the police in Bath Township, Ohio, had been notified by LeBron’s crew to alert them to an announcement last night.

The Akron Beacon-Journal‘s Jason Lloyd clears up what that was all about:

Update, 8:15 a.m. — Report: Gilbert’s letter still an issue for LeBron

Shortly after LeBron James famously made his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat in 2010, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert authored a scathing takedown of James that was published on the Cavs’ website. The letter lingered on the site for years and was recently removed (SB Nation details the process here), but it seems that letter might be hurting the Cavs’ chances of getting James back.

Chris Broussard of ESPN.com has more

One reason, if not the major reason, that LeBron James has taken so long to decide whether to play in Miami or Cleveland next season is the infamous letter Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert penned about James after the superstar left Cleveland in 2010, sources said.

In the letter, written in Comic Sans font, Gilbert called James a “coward” and mocked the many nicknames and catchphrases attached to James, such as “King James,” “The Chosen One” and “Witness.”

The letter remained on the Cavs’ website for the past four years until the team removed it earlier this week.

While James recognizes that informing Cavs fans and Gilbert, who was told of James’ decision to leave Cleveland in a telephone call five minutes before it was announced, on national television was a mistake, he is still wrestling with whether or not to return to play for Gilbert’s team.

“If it wasn’t for that letter, this would’ve been done awhile ago,” one source said.

Update, 7:03 a.m. — Wade as LeBron pitchman?

As has been widely reported (see below), when LeBron James boarded a flight to travel from his basketball skills camp in Las Vegas to Miami, his Heat teammate, Dwyane Wade, was said to be on the flight. Who knows what they talked about, but Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski ventures a sourced report that Wade may have been there to provide a last-minute sales job to James on staying in Miami

(BTW, here’s some video of the pair after they landed in Miami. It’s not exactly thrilling)

Hours after the Cleveland Cavaliers believed they were on the cusp of a commitment out of LeBron James, the superstar free agent jetted 30,000 feet over America with Dwyane Wade on his way back to Miami.

The fight for the generation’s biggest free agent raged out of the desert and back to the shores of Biscayne Bay on Thursday night, with James tempering a brimming belief within the Cavaliers into a trepidation that Wade could be playing the part of Pat Riley‘s closer for the Miami Heat.

James played in games in his skills camp in Las Vegas and found himself photographed throughout the day with Wade. Twenty-four hours earlier on Wednesday, Heat president Riley and assistant general manager Andy Elisburg met with Wade and Paul for an hour, discussing the possibilities of a Heat extension and roster overhaul. James left unconvinced, and Riley stayed with the franchise’s cool, nonplussed disposition over the James’ free agency. Riley hasn’t been bombarding James with text messages and calls, but ultimately left Wade as a most intriguing, last-gasp suitor in the desert. As much as anything, Wade’s bad knees could be chasing him out of Miami, and suddenly he had been cast back into the recruiter’s role.

Update, 6:15 a.m. — Everything from Day 1 …

Yesterday, we saw some smaller fish in the free-agent pond (like Thabo Sefolosha, Steve Blake and Chris Kaman, among others) ink deals with new teams. That’s all well and good, but everyone in the NBA world is still waiting to hear what Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James are doing next. Their moves, of course, will shape how the rest of the free-agent dominoes fall.

Late last night, the Associated Press reported that James and Heat teammate (and fellow free agent) Dwyane Wade left Las Vegas together to head back to Miami. Like everything else with LeBron of late, that trip and his accompanying passenger are up to speculation and debate.

Additionally, the AP reports that Knicks boss Phil Jackson has texted with Anthony recently, but he’s still waiting for a decision from his resident All-Star forward.

Oh, and if you missed yesterday’s live blog, catch up with all of the buzz here.

Lastly, our Reggie Miller provides some good insight into what it is like to be a marquee NBA free agent (he knows a thing or two about this from his own playing days) and what LeBron and ‘Melo might be going through …


VIDEO: Reggie Miller gives his take on the decisions LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony face

47 Comments

  1. jst says:

    Mr. James isn’t holding anyone back from making there deals. They are holding themselves back they are all grown men and well able to make and sign deals. The thing is Riley was not surprised when his stars opted out, because now it free up space so he can work the numbers to retool. James taking time is in hopes that Bosh who I belive he has grown tired of can take Huston deal, opening the door for what should have happened 4 years ago Melo ,Bron ,Wade.
    I fill bad for Bulls(Spurs east,But with less talent). They have the ideal system but need just one super star to pair with Rose. I think they should have went for Love, and made Melo plan B. He is just using them for leavage to see if Phil we get him somebody in NY. The fact of the matter is they all need to grow up make thier choices and lets move on.

  2. Voja Kostunica says:

    What a silliness that James should play for Heat cause “Cavs 7 years, 1 final – Heat 4 years, 2 titles”. We all remember one Patrick Ewing, who never won a title, but he still a NBA legend. I’m following basketball decades ago and i can tell you if James takes just one title in the future with Cavs, that can be greater result than his titles with Heat, because Heat have maybe best team ever. And what happens? Heat’s superstars can’t do nothing without James and that is proven in this finals game where Heat had a lead before he’s being injured and than they loose and that one game where Heat won was an superb LeBrons effort. He should proof that he can take a title without Wade and Bosh. His achievements have being every day disputed because he plays with such superstars, but these players are not on that level as they were 4 years ago. Cavs team is a good young hungry team and with James as leader they can do big things.

  3. Debbie says:

    who does james think he is kidding everyone knows him and D-wade and bosh will be right back in Miami every time james becomes a free agent he makes a big deal out of it.. keeps a secret and goes right back. why does everyone make a big deal out of it.i agree he is a good player but to mke a big deal ot of everything that man does is crazy. james just tell people you r going back to Miami why make a big deal out of it..

  4. snufkins says:

    Hulk Hogan? Changing the history of sports? Seriously? I know so called “wrestling” is a big thing in ‘merica but honestly – even mentioning it in professional sports article is kind of shame and a travesty.

  5. LeggoHeat says:

    I think it would be nice for James to win 1 in CLE but I feel that he still needs to take advantage of MIA for at least another 2 more years. CLE may have the younger roster but MIA is a proven contender for 4 years, and won back-to-backs, which isn’t exactly an easy feat. Of course I’m a biased MIA fan but I would love for James to eventually retire in CLE someday. Home is truly where his heart really is.

  6. Utah Jazz Fan says:

    I think going back to cleveland would be the best option for james here. He would be immortalized there and still has a decent chance of bringing home a few rings. I have a lot of respect for LeBron, but that would up it so much more. After all, I know what it’s like to have the face of your franchise up and run…

  7. jay says:

    don’t blame lebron of he goes back to cleveland, he was the only player in the Finals who provided, no BOSH, no WADE, thats why LBJ could go to cleveland, you think if he stays in miami a couple more years will win something? I dont think so

  8. Linda says:

    There are other NBA players in the NBA, right? You guys have been stuck on LeBron for the last several years. Enough is enough. Try taking a poll of knowledgeable basketball fans and see how many care what LeBron’s decision is going to be!

  9. Kevin says:

    I highly doubt Lebron will go back to Cleveland. In seven years the best player they got around him was who?? Mo Williams? lol… the front office, the coaching, and the owner are all reasons to stay away for Lebron. There are only a select few who can coach a team to a championship (ie: Pop, Spo, Phil, Doc). Their owner is a total *&%$#. He’s right behind Don Sterling in terms of having a “plantation mentality.”

    The Miami Heat have proven championship pedigree. They had one before Lebron came to town. They are capable of bringing in talent. Spo has proven he can lead a team to a championship, twice. Pat Riley has one the greatest basketball minds in the history of the sport. The only problem I see with the team is age. They had one of the oldest, if not the oldest, team in the NBA last season. They couldn’t stay in front of the Spurs in the Finals. Wade’s knees are a huge problem going forward.

    It may seem silly, but as a huge Lebron fan, I’d like to see Wade sign a deal with Miami, then get amnestied, take a year off to rest his knees and get back into optimal shape, then get resigned a year later by Miami under a veteran’s minimum contract. That way he still gets paid $18-20 million/yr, but isn’t a burden on the Heat’s cap space. Under that scenario, Miami will easily be able to give Lebron a maximum contract and bring in other highly skilled players. Highly doubt that will happen, but a man can dream.

    Wherever Lebron goes, I will watch and cheer for him to win another championship. He is my favorite athlete of all time and he always entertains his fans. Go LeBron!!!!!!

    • Miles Fan says:

      agree…great post

    • Carlo says:

      I wouldn’t say the Heat have a “championship pedigree”. They won once singlehandedly by a top-shape Wade and by taking the Mavs by surprise. Then they melted away until LBJ+Bosh came in and they won one and almost lost the second.
      This year they did not lost to the Spurs because of their age (unless you can show me that Duncan+Ginobili+Parker are younger than LBJ+Wade+Bosh) but because they just did not understand how to stop them AND because all Miami’s strategy basically is “give the ball to LBJ/Wade and let him do the magic”. Did it come to you that the Spurs severely limited LBJ and that brought Miami’s offense to a stop?
      About Wade, his knees are WORN, not tired. You simply cannot “rest” them. You need bionic implants. Besides, Wade was not humble enough to train his outside shot, like more clever players (Ginobili, Kidd) did. Today Wade is a one-dimensional player who cannot play in his only dimension (penetration). He’ll likely coast along for a couple of years before retiring in glory.

  10. Goof says:

    I think LeBron James #6 right now killing the Game #NBA he is letting everybody know he control the LEAGUE
    now think about it when LeBron won his first Championship that summer ESPN was going crazy so many highlights whatever he did that summer ESPN would put it out there commercial Late night talk show endorsement that’s Money coming in by the way then he won his second title same thing happen .So finally he lost this Year now he is piss Now THINK about this when was the last thing or heard from the Spurs besides they mite want Paul Gasol now if he was smart I will go with the Spurs add him Spurs is going to crush the West mark my words if he go but anyways. LBJ is mad so now the attention is back on him LMAO its funny cause I’m a LeBron FAN yea I’m from the South954 Lol but to be real this time around its serious cause not only he lost but he finding ways where should end his career but this time he want to play with Carmelo Anthony #7 but Chris Bosh #1 don’t want to lose LeBron cause they one together he don’t want to lose that cause something about the Finals some players don’t want that feeling to go a way so that’s WHY Bosh didn’t sign that deal with Houston now if I was Bosh I will take that Money and go cause clearly you can see LBJ don’t want to play with you anymore but either or where he go it means something Cavs or Miami ?

  11. MathSimon says:

    Drama Queens. Please make a decision. What I am excited about is what will happen to these “other” dominoes – Gasol, Parsons, Stephenson. I don’t care about these LeCramp/LeDrama Queen James nor this Anthony. Stop playing these other teams for fools. They can’t start and conduct their plans with you guys putting things on hold — Mavs are forced to wait on Anthony, and so is the Rockets, Bulls. This is also reopening wounds that LeDrama Queen gave the Cavs last 2010. Stop giving the Cavs false hope. They are now quietly rebuilding with Kyrie Irving as the future — butt your ugly receding hairline elsewhere.

  12. Big Al says:

    Cleveland, what a bunch of loser-users! You only want him because he’s your only shot at the playoffs. Moving back there spells the end of LeBron’s career. It’s definitely a step in the wrong direction. Stay with the Heat, ask them not to re-sign Bosh and use the money to pay a proper big man, and Jameer.

    • Carlo says:

      Sorry. I don’t agree. Cleveland is picking no.1 every other year. In less than a century they almost surely have the opportunity to build a winning team.
      They can also trade Gilbert for the Spurs’ ballboy and save some money.

  13. dianne says:

    i hope you’ll find that miami a better team than cleveland..REmember what the cavs fans did to you, they can do that again if sOmeday you want to leave cleveland..

  14. dianne says:

    cavs doesn’t deserve you lebron..After what they did to you, me and your miami’s filipino fans are your true fans.we will never turn our back to you, we hope you’ll find miami a better team than that cavs

  15. Bj says:

    If the letter is a concern 4yrs after he left Cleve. 4 Trips to the finals 2 championships Pat R. need to explain his comments. #Cfan4life. Pat R. and Dan G. comments were both WRONG! LBJ, make your choice based on where you will WIN!!! #forgiveness is the key.

  16. Mike Weiss says:

    My feeling on Melo is if Lebron stays in Miami, he takes the money, but if he goes to Cleveland he will go to Chicago. He knows if Lebrins in Miami, Chicago can’t beat them, but if he is in Cleveland, Chicago would be the favorite without him. I can tell you that The real Heat fans, not the Lebron Heat fans, are just about ready to be done with Lebron. I can’t imagine he will break Cleveland’s hearts like that again, I mean these people are yelling at his house and he is in Miami!! Miami fans just don’t care that much, we know Riley will always provide a fun team. The last 4 years were fun, but let’s move on already

  17. GMAN says:

    If LBJ go to another team besides Heat, he will have a hard time to get another championship ring. This is a matter of chemistry building, it is not easy to build that chemistry which is the key to winning, not unless he will get a coach like Phil Jackson, Riley…definitely not fit for Pop…and of course surround him with couple of all star greats.

  18. ANDREW N. says:

    If i were Lebron,I will stay in Miami.Dan Gilbert should have known better that this is just business nothing personal.
    He should not have written that letter for Lebron nor post it for years in their website.

  19. Robert1959 says:

    James, Anthony, Love and other NBA “Stars” have a chance to change the way NBA Player negotiate contracts in the future. The current NBA “Collective Bargain Agreement” – should be torn-up and re-written before it expires as a sign of “good will”. In my opinion the new salary cap limit of 86 million per team is unacceptable. The owners did it to themselves when they agreed to pay Donald Sterling 2 billion dollars over his original 27 million dollar investment.

    The NBAPA should be in discussions right know with their lawyers creating a new “Collective Bargain Agreement” strategy (raise the salary level to 1 million dollars per game). The NBA is not the plantation.

    Over the next 10 years (820 games) James, Anthony, Love and other NBA “Star” Players have a chance to be the 1st “Billion Dollar” NBA Players. How?

    *Playing Basketball – James, Anthony, Love and other NBA “Star” Players should not play for less than 1 million dollars per game – 82 games per season = $82 million annually.

    *Endorsements (shoes, etc.) – James, Anthony, Love and other NBA “Star” Players should not wear anybody’s shoes for less than – 1 million dollars per game – 82 million annually.

    *Over 10 years James, Anthony, Love and other NBA “Star” Players can make – $1,640,000,000 each just for playing basketball and wearing sneakers.

    Donald Sterling (2 billion dollars) still made more money than James, Anthony, Love and other NBA “Star” Players without playing a game. How crazy is that…

  20. cease says:

    I am HEAT AND Lebron fan. Will always be regardless of his decision. But, the only thing that confuses me is why would Lebroj go back and play for a person who publicly said the things about him that Gilbert did? Gilbert reminds me of the idiot Clippers owner. Anyway, go Lebron and should you leave… thanks for the memories. GO HEAT!!!

  21. JM says:

    Going back to Cleveland? That Dan Gilbert who destroyed his persona and all those fans who burned every piece of LBJ memory is where he’s supposed to return? Oh come on, LBJ! If you’re returning to the Cavs, then you’re really just a slave of Dan Gilbert. Prove to the Cavs and to the city of Cleveland that you don’t need them to etch your name among the greatest of all time. You’ve given them seven years of HOF type of basketball. That’s enough. Stay in Miami or go somewhere else but not Cleveland.

  22. what if? says:

    what if they are waiting on purpose and wade and james are in talks with carmello anthony…maybe they plan on replacing bosh. would it be an upgrade? yes. with bosh the heat were still last in rebounding. bosh went scoreless before in the playoffs. carmello would spread the floor even more. james and carmello could have 2 year player options and then if james wants to leave the roster in cleveland would have less fog and he would have better shot at winning championships. i know this is unrealistic, but i’m still holding out hope. it would be much more exciting than anything we think would happen right now.

  23. paulinekaye says:

    Lebron will have a better situation in cleveland

    • Timu says:

      Remember how James reacted to Clippers owner Sterling, If he is the King James, he can not go work for someone who insulted and cursed him publicly. Championship requires a great organization from players to owners not just great players. Cavs will not have it as long as Dan Gilbert is the owner of that organization.
      Miami Heat 4 years – 4 finals 2 rings – Cavs 7 years, only 1 final no ring..

    • Timu says:

      Like the way he had in his 7 years.Championship is the work of whole organization not just players. Cavs will not get any title as long as Dan Gilbert is the owner.

  24. a says:

    Why leave Miami? 2 rings in 4 years pretty darn good, and he will probaly atleast win a couple more rings if he stays there for the next 4-5 years.

  25. Pouchon says:

    Going back to Cleveland is the best thing that will happen in James career. Many people like myself will automatically will want him to win a championship there. He will become immortal in Ohio and might be the greatest to ever play the game.

  26. Lance Stillwell says:

    The only reason for LeBron’s delay is that he has not yet made up his mind, despite the reports guaranteeing his return to Cleveland. I’ve always felt that he was going to stay in Miami and that the opt out was a designed thing by all of them, including Pat Riley: http://straighthoops.com/enough_already.html

  27. DEJ says:

    Is there a deadline for this madness to end? I think Lebron’s deccision making is ovcer-rated. I understand this is big for NBA in the sports news, but it is time for everyone to become a part of a team so that practice can begin. The Spurs are probably practicing already.

  28. Bill says:

    As a life long CELTICS fan , I could care less where James and Anthony go. Neither one them will win another title. look at the brigth side , Anthony and karl Malone have something in common, great players never to win a title!!! These two are holding the whole league hostage, is this fair to the other players who are trying to get a contract for thenselves by having to wait for these two to decide ??? Shame on both of them . I just hope that people see these two for what they really are , money hungary, selfcentered individules .

    • shhhh says:

      lebron, melo including bosh are not holding the league hostage. it may look like it but it’s not their fault that they have not made up their mind or they are holding to their decision. it’s the nba team’s fault in part that they hold their transactions because they hope to land one of them. part fault is for the media blowing this up.

      melo may not win a ring but lebron will most likely win another one.

  29. showbaba says:

    Miami is silly to have had the plan of bringing Wade back. with Wade in the roaster playing starter a more minutes. James and most of the Miami players know that they might get there but would not win the Finals. If you wash Miami games closely you would observe that wAde is the spoiler of their games and the inexperience coach find it harder to make the tough decision like pop would to bench him if he is not contributing. Bosh should have been the second option not Wade. Game one of the finals proved it, They gave the ball to Wade when LBJ left and he messed up the game. Wade is a problem and James know that. It would be foolish of James to know that Wade would be in the roaster and go back to Miami. The best for Miami is to cut the price of Wade let him come from the bench as hard as it is, that is the best thing to do for all other guys instead of spoiling their games.

  30. karl z says:

    “I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE”

    this is where he’s going…?
    that would be my only pitch to him

    also….didn’t Lebron come to miami for a dynasty???….not 1, not 5, not 6

  31. kc jones says:

    People from the state of ohio are all about home,hardwork,and family grill outs.Home means alot to these people more than any outher part of the world. If lebron is going back home nows the time.Everyone will greet him with open arms. If he doesn’t go to the cavs now he might not ever. Lebrons body may not last like a normal nba player he carries the load every year for his team. Who knows how long his legs will last. Maybe he dosen’t go back home to the cavs but i would love to see him win a title for the state of ohio the cavs and for his hometown of akron.

    • Timu says:

      All the respect to King James, Miami Heat organization to get him on 4 finals, and 2 rings, not Dan Gilbert who publicly insulted him, and cursed him. Welcoming him? LOL Fans, and the Cavs owner hate James, they only want championship.

  32. timpson says:

    I’m so tired of hearing where they r going its really getting old lebron is holding bosh up and its still no guarantee that they will win championship it just looks good on paper.

  33. JJ says:

    In my opinion, going back to Cleveland is a step back in his career.