Sheridan’s Top 25 Free Agents: July 9 Edition – LeBron going to Cleveland

lebronsnipThe Decision has been made. LeBron James is returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers, a league source tells SheridanHoops.com.

James met with Miami Heat president Pat Riley today in Las Vegas to deliver the news. A contingent of other Heat officials were informed they were not welcome at the meeting, according to a source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

An official announcement will be made on www.lebronjames.com, as I first reported yesterday.

For Cleveland, this is one of the most important days in the city’s sports history. No pro team has won a title of any kind since the Browns won the NFL Championship in 1964, and now there is a distinct possibility that the 50-year drought can end. James will be joining a team led by Kyrie Irving, who just agreed to a five-year contract extension, along with Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 pick in last month’s draft.

It is a young core that will grow older with James as their tutor and leader, and he returns to Cleveland as a grown man who has learned what it takes to win.

For Miami, it is the end of an era — a four-year period in which a superteam was constructed and went to four straight NBA Finals.

Why is this happening? It comes down to LeBron building a legacy, which leads us to three points:

  • There is nothing left for him to accomplish in Miami. He went there for four years, he went to the NBA Finals all four years, and he won two titles while learning what it takes to be a champion. Nobody can ever take that away from him.
  • A chance to return home as a successful, seasoned adult with a chance to deliver the city of Cleveland its first championship since 1964 is too much of a legacy opportunity for James to pass up.
  • And another thing: With all due respect to Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, the best player he has a chance to team up with is named Kyrie Irving.

In today’s biggest piece of news from the morning, the Cavs cleared the cap space to make a max offer to LeBron by dealing away Jarrett Jack, Sergei Karasev, Tyler Zeller and a 2016 first-round pick in a three-way trade with Boston and Brooklyn.

Today, all eyes have turned to Las Vegas, where James opened his annual summer camp, then held his meeting with Riley.

Once James makes his intentions known publicly (and the same goes for Carmelo Anthony, who reportedly will stay with the New York Knicks), the free agency dam is going to burst.

Greg Monroe, Pau Gasol, Trevor Ariza, Luol Deng, Lance Stephenson. They are all going to lock up their deals in a very short span of time, and it is going to be madness.

We have been telling you for weeks that Cleveland is in the hunt for James. Some have dismissively scoffed at the notion. Others have surveyed the landscape, summoned their inner Spock and said: “Why not?”

James traveled Monday to Las Vegas, and a source who has been briefed on James’ free agency maneuverings told SheridanHoops that James’ inner circle, from his wife, Savannah to his agent, Rich Paul, to his best friends, Maverick Carter and Randy Mims, are unanimous in their belief that James’ best move is a return to the team he played for from 2003-2010.

Fans in Cleveland have been holding their collective breath, and now they can exhale. The chance for the city’s first championship in any major professional sport since 1964 is now a distinct possibility.

The Cavs were the only team able to offer James something no one else could: Redemption. Let us not forget that we are reaching the four-year anniversary of “taking my talents,” Jim Gray, Cavs fans burning jerseys and Dan Gilbert wrongly predicting more championships for Cleveland than Miami in his infamous comic sans stream-of-consciousness Internet post — a post that was purged from the Cavs’ Web site overnight Sunday.

Never has the balance of power in the NBA hung in the balance quite the way it does now. OK, it was a similar situation four years ago regarding the balance of power, and we all were witnesses to how much sway The Chosen One holds over our beloved Association. Now, it is a question of whether he can turn a young nucleus led by Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins into championship material.

Cuban in ClevelandThe man who has been greasing the skids for this epic event is James’ agent, Rich Paul, who has been meeting with potential suitors in Cleveland during the first week of the NBA’s moratorium on signings and trades, which expires July 10. Much of Paul’s work has been taking place under the radar, although there have been clues, such as Mavericks owner Mark Cuban being spotted in northeast Ohio. The Lakers had a stealth meeting Friday, and the Rockets and Suns also spoke with Paul.

Meanwhile, on the Carmelo Anthony front, he has finished his tour of meeting with prospective teams and was told by the Knicks that they are indeed willing to make him a max, five-year offer. His decision could come at any time.

The list below shows our Top 25 free agents, but keep in mind that there are more than 100 NBA players whose contracts have expired and who will be looking for new deals in the next several weeks. Nobody can sign anything until July 10, but verbal agreements — such as the one Cleveland made with Kyrie Irving on a five-year max extension — are permitted.

Here is the latest on the Top 25. Players with a (R) next to their name are restricted free agents, meaning their teams have the right to match any offer they receive:

1. LeBron James, F, Miami Heat 

LeBron James headshotBetcha didn’t realize this: LeBron has never earned a max salary. Never. And you would think he would want to reach that stratosphere before he turns 30 (which happens on New Year’s Eve). There is a scenario under which LeBron can sign a five-year deal with a starting salary of nearly $22 million and have a superstar cast surrounding him. But Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh would have to sign for much less than the max. Only time will tell if they are willing to do that — and if James is willing to do the same to facilitate a stronger supporting cast. Check out this chart showing how much cap room the Heat and other teams have. July 1 UPDATE: The Lakers placed a call to LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, and the Mavericks, Rockets, Bulls, Warriors, Suns and Cavs are expected to kick the tires. UPDATE II: John Canzano of Oregonian reports James wants only a one- or two-year deal at max money. July 2 UPDATE: More questions than answers. July 3: Still no concrete word on what James is thinking. July 7 UPDATE: Clevelanders now believe they are squarely in the mix. Source tells SheridanHoops that James’ inner circle is unanimous in their belief that James should return to the Cavs. UPDATE II: Kyrie Irving has made a pitch to James, according to FoxSports Ohio. July 8 UPDATE: Meeting with Riley scheduled for Wednesday, Yahoo reports. JULY 9 UPDATE: Cavs have cleared max cap room by trading away Jarrett Jack, Tyler Zeller and Sergei Karasev. UPDATE II: The Decision has been made. He’s returning to Cleveland.

2. Carmelo Anthony, F, New York Knicks

Carmelo_Anthony_HeadshotWhen Phil Jackson said the Knicks would be good whether or not Anthony returns, not many people gave much credence to the thought of a new MeloDrama — though they should have. Same thing when Jackson said he would hold Anthony to his word in regards to taking less than the max to help the Knicks move forward with cap flexibility. There seems to be a consensus that ‘Melo is the most getable top free agent out there. JULY 1 UPDATE: Anthony will meet with the Bulls, then the Mavericks and Rockets, then the Lakers, and finally the Knicks. Last week, Jackson said his preference was either to make the first pitch or the last pitch. He will get the latter. UPDATE II: Berman of the Post says LaLa Vazquez wants to stay in New York. UPDATE III: Surprisingly, Derrick Rose was in attendance as Bulls made their pitch. He dined at night with a contingent that included Jerry Reinsdorf and Scottie Pippen. July 2 UPDATE: Lunch with the Rockets, after which they bring him to the arena and have a mock-up of Melo wearing No. 7 — Jeremy Lin’s number. “I get the sensitivity & I hate that it creates some hurt feelings. I don’t like that, but that’s obviously Carmelo Anthony’s number, that’s the number he wants. He told us that. Bottomline, if Carmelo comes, Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin have to be traded. It’s just math. It’s not personal. My job is every day figure out how to win. Sometimes it creates challenging situations.” – Rockets GM Daryl Morey. UPDATE II: Nighttime meeting with Mavs at Mark Cuban’s house. Mark Cuban on Melo meeting (via CyberDust): “We made this purely a business meeting. No tours. No banners. All basketball and business.” JULY 3 UPDATE: Kobe Bryant has flown back from his European vacation to be part of the Lakers’ pitch. Mark Heisler thinks Lakers should steer clear. UPDATE II: Meeting lasted 2 1/2 hours. ‘Melo and Kobe will have a sitdown after Knicks make their pitch 3,000 miles from NY. UPDATE III: Knicks reportedly made verbal offer of max deal $129 for 5 years. JULY 4 UPDATE: Yahoo says Anthony was aligned with Jackson’s direction following their meeting. JULY 7 UPDATE: Informed speculation has ‘Melo choosing between the Lakers and Knicks. UPDATE II: Veteran beat writers at Chicago Tribune and NY Daily News say Bulls are still in the mix. JULY 8 UPDATE: Crickets. JULY 9 UPDATE: Marc Berman of the New York Post reports Jackson is trying to clear cap space to make an 11th hour run at LeBron James. Frank Isola of New York Daily News says barring a last-minute change of heart, Anthony will return to the Knicks.

3. Greg Monroe, F, Detroit Pistons (R)

Detroit Pistons Media DayHe is going to get a max contract, because there just aren’t that many 24-years-olds standing 6-11 who can be obtained this summer. Also, his agent is David Falk, and if there is one thing that Falk knows how to do (aside from staying on Michael Jordan’s good side), it is getting his clients the most possible money. What makes the most sense is a max offer from the Lakers, who need to start putting together the building blocks of their future. Which means Stan Van Gundy (and Tom Gores) will need to decide: Is Monroe worthy of the max deal? July 1 UPDATE: The Portland Trail Blazers, Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic are the first three teams that have been mentioned as strong suitors for Monroe. Prepare for that list to get longer. JULY 8 UPDATE: It would appear that the Pistons have not made Monroe a max offer, or we’d have heard about it. So look for some team to max Monroe after the Melo/LeBron decisions are made, and then it will be a question of whether Detroit will match.

4. Kyle Lowry, G, Toronto Raptors 

TOR_Lowry_KyleFor a while, the general consensus among NBA personnel folks was that a four-year deal starting in the $11 million range would be enough for the Raptors to get their best player (apologies, DeMar DeRozan) to stick around. Then Lowry got linked to the Heat as a possible destination, and all bets were suddenly off. There is no way the Heat can give Lowry his fair market value unless he goes to Miami in a sign-and-trade, but there is nobody among Miami’s castoffs who is worthy of a similar deal. July 1 UPDATE: Lowry met with Raptors GM Masai Ujiri and coach Dwane Casey today in Philadelphia, then with Daryl Morey of the Rockets. Toronto weighing whether to offer a five-year deal, which no one else can do. Miami and Lakers trying to get a meeting. JULY 2 UPDATE: A decision could come today, according to the National Post in Canada. JULY 3 – UPDATE Shortly after midnight, Lowry tweets that he is returning to Toronto. He’ll get $48 million over four years with an Early Termination Option after Year 3.

5. Lance Stephenson, G, Indiana Pacers 

Indiana Pacers

You have to admire his fearlessness and feistiness, especially when it comes to competing against LeBron James, whose feuds with Stephenson over the past couple of seasons have brought extra sizzle to the Pacers-Heat rivalry. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to IQ, Stephenson is nonetheless one of the more gifted all-around players in anybody’s backcourt. It makes sense for the Pacers to re-sign him for less than the max; it is debatable whether he is worth a max contract. But given the fact that teammate Roy Hibbert has a max deal, Lance will be looking for the same. The question is whether he’ll have any leverage. July 1 UPDATE: The Pacers put together an elaborate pitch, producing a “Born Ready” movie that they showed to Stephenson shortly after midnight. But a max deal was not offered along with the popcorn, and Indiana’s five-year, $44 million offer was insufficient, Chris Broussard of ESPN reported. The Bulls, Lakers and Hornets have initiated contact. JULY 7 UPDATE: The Mavs and Lakers have registered their interest, ESPN reports. JULY 8 UPDATE – ESPN’s Dan LeBatard said the Heat reached out before coming to terms with Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger. 

6. Eric Bledsoe, G, Phoenix Suns (R)

Phoenix Suns

When he wasn’t injured, Bledsoe showed exactly why teams were lining up to try to acquire him before he was eventually dealt by the Clippers to the Phoenix Suns. The NBA is a point guard-driven league, and this guy is the one player out there (yes, even more so than Lowry, IHMO) who has superstar potential. The Lakers could do a lot worse than getting this guy along with Monroe, which together with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers’ lottery pick, Julius Randle, would have Jimmy Buss’ team contending from the opening tip this fall. JULY 1: The Suns have been mentioned as possible suitors for several top free agents because they have the ability to sign-and-trade Bledsoe. And since they drafted Tyler Ennis of Syracuse, a point guard, they may look to flip Bledsoe for a max man. A scenario exists whereby Bledson, LeBron James and Kevin Love would all play for Phoenix next season. JULY 4 UPDATE: The Bucks are pitching an offer sheet, according to ESPN.com.

7. Pau Gasol, F, Los Angeles Lakers 

Gasol

If we are to assume that Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Bosh are both going to remain with their present teams – a sound assumption – then Pau deserves a free agent ranking ahead of both of them. He can be acquired for less than the max, he fits as the last piece of a championship puzzle for a team that is one player away. JULY 1 UPDATE — Gasol has returned to the U.S. from Spain. The first calls came from the Lakers, Bulls, Mavericks and Warriors. Gasol spoke on the phone with Pat Riley and met for several hours with Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak. Spurs are interested, but cannot come close to paying the $10-12 million Gasol is seeking unless there is a sign-and-trade. July 2 UPDATE: Bulls are heading to Los Angeles to talk to him. Gasol is their No. 1 choice after ‘Melo. Also, the Oklahoma City Thunder made a pitch led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. ESPN says he is willing to take less than market value from three teams: Spurs, Thunder and Knicks. Carmelo Anthony reportedly asked for Gasol’s phone number to pitch him on coming to the Knicks. JULY 4 UPDATE: Joakim Noah was part of a Bulls contingent making a pitch, and Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra are the pitchers today. July 5 UPDATE: Spurs will offer him their full mid-level exception, Yahoo reports. JULY 7 UPDATE: Thunder coach Scott Brooks met with Gasol, ESPN reported. JULY 8 — Sought by every good team in the Association, beginning with the Spurs. Met with OKC coach Scott Brooks on Monday, ESPN-LA reported. A true wild card.

8. Dirk Nowitzki, F, Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks Media Day 2013-2014He isn’t going anywhere, but respect dictates that we place him in our top 10. It seems like an exercise in futility to list him as a free agent, because no one is expecting him to do anything other than end his career exactly where he started it. With Dirk, it is a question of how much money he will make, and how much he will leave for Mark Cuban to play with in free agency down the road. He has already said he plans to play well into his 40s. JULY 1 UPDATE — If and when the Mavericks get a sit-down with LeBron James, Nowitzki wants to take part as a recruiter. Same goes for the July 2 meeting with Carmelo Anthony which is already scheduled. July 3 UPDATE — Earlier than expected, the Mavs and Dirk sat down and quickly came to an agreement on a three-year, $30 million deal with an opt-out after two years. Nowitzki also keeps his no-trade clause.

9. Dwyane Wade, G, Miami Heat 

MIA_Wade_DwyaneHe has opted out of a contract that would have paid him $42 million over the next two seasons, which is a helluva a lot of money to sacrifice without any assurance that a new deal with allow him to recoup that money. Unless, of course, there is a wink-wink deal in place. Of all the members of Miami’s Big Three, Wade has the most riding on keeping the trio intact. He is coming off an NBA Finals in which his decline was quite apparent. July 1 UPDATE — “Everybody has their [contract] number and has left a little bit of room to let [Riley] maneuver,” one source briefed on the contract discussions told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.  UPDATE II: John Canzano of Oregonian says Wade will get a four-year deal with a starting salary of $11 million. Agent Henry Thomas says that is untrue.  July 2 UPDATE: More questions than answers after the Big Three meet. They are unsure of what ‘Bron will do. JULY 6 UPDATE: “Nothing’s changed” in Wade and Bosh’s approach since the July 1 start of free agency, agent Henry Thomas told ESPN.com. “They appreciate what they’ve done in Miami those four years together, and they want to make sure they have a chance to have that same success the next four (years). “With Dwyane, he’s been there his entire career, so he’s in a unique situation. Chris has made it known how he’s felt about being in Miami these four years.” Thomas insisted that Bosh and Wade are operating under separate circumstances, but expects them to reach decisions on new deals “within the next couple of days.” ESPN.com reported. JULY 8 UPDATE, See James, LeBron.

Comments

  1. Jim In Chicago says

    I’m new to Sheridanhoops after finding the site last week. I was amazed last Wednesday…and then Thursday….an then Friday how Chris Sheridan was the only reporter in the northern hemisphere saying that Lebron James was solid for Cleveland.

    More amazing is how I’ve seen ESPN cover the story they missed by a Kansas mile. This morning I heard the host on ESPN radio say his colleague “reported it first on ESPN.” No mention of Sheridan or SI. I guess that technically, it’s true. His colleague did report it first on ESPN. But beyond ESPN others were way earlier.

    Absolutely amazing. I think I’ll post something to the NU Medill Alumni board on this with the hope that Michael Wilbon and Mike Greenburg both see it.

    Journalists working for ESPN should be humiliated that they work for a media outlet that behaves this way.

  2. OlSkool1972 says

    Ariza did the Wizards a favor. He wasn’t worth the contract the Wizards were willing to overpay. Rather get Pierce on a shorter deal and still be in play for Durant in 2016.

  3. Truth says

    Why hate on Pierce? Given, he’s not in his prime anymore but if they can limit his minutes he’s still a solid player and a veteran leader who comes thru with big shots in the clutch.

  4. A.J. says

    I still want to know what deal with the devil Sheridan had to make with Lynn “Deep Throat” Merritt for that James scoop. Sheridan’s pre-James announcement of a Twitter hashtag to be “#unfinished business” was the dead giveaway it was a source from within Nike, Merritt’s in charge of James’ campaigns, and it wouldn’t be the first time Merritt has been a little loose with his lips. It’s Merritt.

    Will Sheridan now have to wear a clown costume at Nike disadvantaged children’s parties, or what.

  5. jg says

    Bosh is getting $118M for 5yrs from Heat, not $114M. And that is a Joe Johnson level BAD contract. Amazing that no one remembers he “led” the Raptors to the lottery…and that was when he was younger & had more durability.
    He can’t carry a team. He hasn’t been double teamed in 4 years.
    He is going to be the biggest albatross in 4-5 years.
    Riley with a pathetic move.

    • A.J. says

      Please. Going to the lottery wasn’t on Bosh, he had excellent seasons. And if it’s such a crappy move, then why was Houston going to give him the max, as well? It’s not going to haunt them, it’s not like they’re going to be hurting for cap space.

      Sure, on the back end, it’s not going to be a good contract. Every max contract is like that when a guy is going to be 34 or 35 when the contract is going to end. But contracts can always be dumped, your Joe Johnson reference was a perfect example. Even the most incompetent idiots can dump a bad contract on other incompetent idiots, the incompetent idiot that destroyed the Cavaliers, Danny Ferry, was the one who dumped it on him.

      And Miami can’t afford to not have good upcoming regular seasons, they still owe Cleveland their 2015 partially protected or 2016 partially protected or 2017 unprotected first-round pick from the original 2010 James sign-and-trade. That would be devastating.

      • Chris says

        The 2015 pick is Top-10 protected. If it’s #11 or #30, it goes to the Cavs. Therefore, if they were not bad, it would go to the Cavs and James gets another asset to build his vision with in Cleveland. To quote you, that would be “devastating”.

        So… being bad to avoid giving them the pick would be the non-devastating move?

        …and this is the final payment piece. Not quite sure about that 2016/2017 part.

        • A.J. says

          I have absolutely no idea what you just said.

          It would be devastating to Miami if that first-round pick turns out to be something. Riley never expected to give up anything of value when the original sign-and-trade was made. The 2013 first-round pick they gave up was supposed to be a garbage pick, and it was. A #11 pick to a #14 pick would be horrible for Miami. And if they are bad enough to fall into top-10 picks in 2015 and 2016, it becomes totally unprotected in 2017.

          So yeah, combined with losing James, giving up a high first-round pick would be devastating for the franchise. With Wade being a gimp, they couldn’t afford to lose Bosh, even if it took a max contract to keep him.

    • George says

      Indeed giving Bosh a max contract was the worse thing Riley could have done after losing Lebron. The heat needs to add more players in order to maintain itself strong in the East. But how can they do such a thing if there using a lot of there cap space to keep Bosh. When last season had many games with 12 points and 2 rebounds. Bosh is a elite player but if he doesn’t produce like when he was in Toronto then all that money was a waste. He is no Lebron, Carmelo, koby, or Durant to be taking a deal so high.

      • Arky says

        In the 2013-2014 season the Heat became too LeBron-centric. And really in 2012-2013 to a lesser extent, but they got away with it then.

        The Heat are betting that if they actually feature Bosh in the offence again and without LeBron around stealing rebounds (no-one ever talks about this but LeBron adores jumping ahead of his bigs for uncontested rebounds so that he can bring the ball up the floor without waiting for a pass) he will still be the guy who averaged 21 and 10 in his last season in Toronto.

        The Heat want to keep being relevant. If you let Bosh walk, you hardly have a roster. They are not an organization to become useless for years and tank for picks, especially since they will have to give up a first rounder to Cleveland at some point and they don’t have useful veterans to trade for extra picks. Bosh’s deal might look bad at the back end, but not giving Bosh a deal would look bad at this end. And frankly, in a market where guys like Gordon Hayward and Chandler Parsons are getting 14-15 million a year deals, Bosh’s deal is a bargain.

        The Heat are trying to give themselves a puncher’s chance of getting at least to the ECF for the next 2 years, and then trying to construct another superteam in 2016- you got to bet that if Durant hasn’t won a title in OKC by then they’ll pitch him on having the know-how to turn superstars into champions.

  6. Arky says

    Respect, Sheridan. Thought this was an attempt to get traffic by making a wild call and hoping to get it right, but it’s pretty clear this really was a decision made a while ago by LeBron and I completely believe you had an inside source. Apologies for doubting you! Gonna keep reading you! (and hey, now that LeBron is not on my team anymore I don’t have to care that you do things like not having him on the All-NBA first team)

  7. Jan says

    First of all, congrats on the accurate “scoop” and the answer to the question: “when did the Lakers become a ‘dump’ team, by the way?” is when the franchise loss Dr. Buss (RIP). The Lakers will be back but it won’t happen until the team rids itself of Kobe’s strangulating contract.

    As far as the Cavs are concerned, I’m happy for the city of Cleveland and the state of Ohio. The ability to bring in Love along with a few other supporting pieces instantly elevates Cleveland to championship status. It’s going to be a great season and i can hardly wait for it to begin!
    ]

  8. Eric S says

    Chris Sheridan should take a bow. Honestly. I have never seen a sportswriter so much crap for what he reported then Chris did. Some vile stuff was said to him. I know a lot of the comments were probably from Heat fans, but still. I think Chris Sheridan showed that he’s a much better reporter than Chris Broussard. It was clear that LeBron and Dan Gilbert had cleared the air before today and that Brossard was way way off base with saying the letter was holding things up. Hogwash. LeBron was obviously getting all his ducks in a row and getting people prepared. So once again congrats to Chris Sheridan.

  9. John Brevard says

    Outstanding job Chris! It was interesting that you had the scoop before anyone and the last time someone had such a scoop, that person was rehired by the WWL….Stephen A. Smith!. I know you endured much heat (no pun intended) for making this scoop on July 8th, but you did it!!!
    Congrats again!!! You must have known via Le Jenkins.

  10. yurgus says

    Congratulations to Chris Sheridan for getting it right before anyone else – good work!

    Great article and COMPLETELY spot-on!

  11. JFontheBeach says

    Thanks for the championships LBJ! Can’t believe you are going to double the value of the NBA’s 2nd worst owner after what he said about you, though.

    • A.J. says

      Second-worst? Try worst. I’ve never in my life seen such an arrogant incompetent blowhard keep smelling like roses. The season James left, the franchise made $45 million because he kept the payroll at the bottom of the NBA, and all the seats had been pre-sold because they forced the season-ticket holders to renew early in the event James left. Prior to that, the voters gave him two Ohio casino monopolies. Then getting first pick in the lottery every year. Then getting the voters to approve a sin tax to pay for an arena in which he receives 100% of the revenue from all events. And now this. It’s incomprehensible.

      Dan Gilbert, the one-time felon bookie that threatened his betters and tossed sh*t in peoples’ cars when they couldn’t pay up, keeps on rolling 7s. It’s astonishing. The guy is Homer Simpson and everyone else is Frank Grimes.

      By the way, Sheridan, good call. Who was your source at Nike that leaked it, Lynn Merritt?

      • Arky says

        With Sterling gone there’s a case for Gilbert as the worst left, anyway.

        It kind of sucks that the Cavs basically get rewarded for running the team in a completely incompetent way that helped them luck into 3 (!!) of the 4 #1 overall picks while LeBron was away and not sign any vets worth keeping. I mean, they re-hired Mike Brown, gave him a long term contract, and sacked him again after 1 year. Meanwhile competently run NBA franchises with good squads just cannot get a break. Trying to win and signing good players to reasonable deals should not be disadvantaged so much compared to tanking and incompetence.

        And it certainly sucks that such a slimy billionaire as Gilbert is the one who will make most of the profit to be had from LeBron going home.

        • A.J. says

          No, he’s the worst, Sterling or not. Worse than Dolan, too. Apparently Sterling’s not so bad as to persuade Chris Paul not to re-up, and is not so bad as to persuade Blake Griffin not to re-up (and with no opt-out provision). On the other hand, James thinks so little of Gilbert, that not only did he get an opt-out clause, but he fled the first chance he got.

          • JK says

            what’s wrong you mad bro you have the worst president in the League the dude is trying to ruin the NBA with this tactic he’s up f ing clown get over it

  12. Andre W says

    Chris, they all doubted you and your source. Make them eat crow! Sit back, enjoy a beer, and laugh in their faces. You are now amongst the elite!

  13. don gua says

    Congrats on the story. But know that you have huge balls. Thanks for your balls. Nuts of your quality are truly inspiring. Props.

  14. HeatFanSinceOchoOcho says

    “And another thing: With all due respect to Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, the best player he has a chance to team up with is named Kyrie Irving.”

    And the best team & organization that Lebron can team with is the Heat. All this PG talk is overrated…those great Bulls teams didn’t need a dominant PG…PJ’s Laker teams didn’t need a dominant PG…the 2010-14 Heat teams didn’t need a dominant PG. So all this PG talk is HOGWASH! And even though it’s been under the the national radar…James Ennis & Justin Hamilton are coming along in SL play. Ennis is LOOOOONG, and can shoot the LIGHTS OUT! And Hamilton looks like a good option coming off the bench. And oh yeah, Danny Granger isn’t what He was, but He can still SHOOT! Now tell me, what shooters do the Cavs have, besides the ones they’re speculating that Lebron will summons to Cleveland (Allen & Miller).

    Pat Riley knows what He’s doing, He’s not as “desperate” as your source makes Him out to be.

  15. HeatFanSinceOchoOcho says

    “a four-year period in which a superteam was constructed and went to four straight NBA Finals.”

    That “superteam” term nowadays is more FALLACY!, than fact! How is it a “superteam”, when 3 players take up about 75% of the payroll. SA is the “superteam”…those great teams of the 80s (Boston,LA,Detroit), were “superteams”. The Miami Heat…not so much…and I’m a HEAT FAN!

  16. Your a Fraud says

    Sheridan is the FOX News of sports. No credibility whatsoever. Please be Smart and dont believe everything you read in the internet.

  17. LeBron is The Best In The World says

    This Chris Sheridan is a FRAUD. He is throwing a prediction out there because he knows he basically has a 50/50 chance if it comes true he can sit here and brag about how he reported this FIRST. He is a fraud.

    • LeBron is The Best In The World says

      Oh and by the way: CHRIS SHERIDAN HAS NO SOURCES, NO ONE WILL GIVE ANY INFO TO THIS HACK OF A REPORTER.

      • LeBron is The Best In The World says

        Dude he’s been posting crap for 2-3 days now, ANY MINUTE lebronjames.com will update! It’s gonna happen. O wait, maybe not till Brazil trip, Oh wait, My source said 99 percent, o wait, I’m Chris Sheridan, and I got fired from ESPN because I was a Fraud.

      • LeBron is The Best In The World says

        Or maybe I should make a website quick, make it look all legit, and act like Chris Sheridan and think I have allot of power, and make a new story. MY SOURCE SAYS LEBRON JAMES HAS DECIDED TO GO BACK TO MIAMI, this is a 98 Percent chance my source said, just waiting for the announcement.”

        Then I’d be like Chris Sheridan, a BUM! A Liar! And I Fraud!

  18. Tyrone Sharpton says

    Sheridan’s source either has to be Lebron himself or his wife. He knows too much, and the nat’l media I bet is trying to squeeze info out of his agent but are getting nothing. Lebron leaking info to a reporter who left ESPN on not so great terms is excellent theater, and an intelligent way to get back at some of the moron talking heads being employed by these so-called bigshots at ESPN and elsewhere.

  19. stifler says

    Lebron is going to CLEVELAND because his wife is pregas and they want the baby to be born and bred in Akron. Happy wife, happy life. The cavs are a weak team, Irving is unproven at any playoff level, Wiggins is a 2-3 year project to be any good at anything other than jumping out of the gym, Bennett is a bust and they have nothing else, PLUS THEY HAVE A UNPROVEN COACH AND AN OWNER WHO LEBRON WILL NEVER EVER RESPECT, so please don’t tell me the cavs have a better chance than Miami – its just not true. But Lebron will go back and try to recruit KLove and/or others to make it work. Best of luck to him as he deserves everything he gets, we had 4 great years in Miami and its just unfortunate Bosh was there to ruin the team – I hope he goes to Houston and Wade goes to Chicago so the Heat can start afresh and get away from the circus that is Lebron. That will be the silver lining for Miami

      • stifler says

        Well as I see no arguments from anyone, including you, of any substance whatsoever its safe to say your just upset im onto something…

        and BTW, spo was a massive part of the 2006 ring and so yes that gives him a lot more stability than a coach whos never even coached in the NBA before…..

        peace out. best of luck

        • Googs says

          Blatt has won titles, coach of the year and a bronze medal with Russia. He is not a good coach I guess and don’t give that he never has coached in the NBA.

    • tom dugyou says

      BS….the fact that they have all that youth means they can make a move to add players. They also cap space years in the years coming, not to mention3 picks next year to acquire players….

    • says

      Chris good for you sticking 100% to your story and your source! Those ESPN talking heads just can take being scooped by an independent writer. Go Cavs!

  20. x says

    People—Chris Sheridan is nothing more than a sensationalist hack. He is the human personification of Fox News. There is a reason ESPN fired him. Did anyone hear the Cowherd interview? What quality journalist (think of a real one, like Wojo or Marc Stein) would tell an interviewer (when Cowherd asked if Cleveland knew for certain that LeBron was coming), “[Pause]…[Pause]…[Pause]…I’m not going to answer that. OK. Ask me the question another way.”

    This guy is like a toddler who figured out that saying “penis” quickly gets him attention from others. Just read the article. He says a source told him that LeBron has made up his mind, so of course that means (in grandiose form), “THE WAIT IS OVER! IT’S A DONE DEAL. FINALLY, CLEVELAND. YOU CAN RELAX. TAKE A DEEP BREATH. A SOURCE TOLD ME (a day after saying I was 80% sure) THAT IT’S 100%. THE PROPHECY I FORETOLD WILL COME TO PASS. THE KING WILL RETURN IN ALL OF HIS MAJESTY. WEEP AT THE ALTAR OF SHERIDANHOOPS.COM.”

    Sheridan truly believes this is about his redemption, not LeBron’s. He sees himself as Stephen A. Smith during The Decision Part I. Smith had also been banished from ESPN and Smith was toiling with his own independent, obscure blog. But Smith gave us a guarantee, and not long after he was back on ESPN.

    So Sheridan is taking a calculated risk. He figures he has a 50% chance of being right. If he’s right, he looks brilliant (not really, but in his mind he does) and ESPN will want him back (they won’t). If he’s wrong, he can claim that LeBron had a last-second “change of heart,” or some other BS excuse.

    Nobody will buy it, but that’s his logic.

    If you’re from Cleveland, and you’ve got your hopes up, just look at the language in this article. Sheridan is acting like everything is signed in blood. He’s toying with you. No reputable journalist—actually, even Bleacher Report wouldn’t do this. This article (See: “Fans in Cleveland have been holding their collective breath, and now they can exhale.”) is a violation of basic journalistic ethics. Don’t be fooled by “the Glenn Beck of sports reporting.”

  21. says

    I’m not a heat fan, nor a cavs fan!! But why are you heat fans thinking lebron has a better chance to win? Yes y’all have reached 4 consecutive finals winning twice!! But after last season, which cause a red flag if I were LBG!! Seeing the decline of wade, and zero supporting cast!! Chalmers, and cole @ PG, with all the old guys would turn me off from playing there! No knock on y’all!! Y’all got to live in paradise, and had 4 nba finals in 4 years!! So of course I’m envy y’all!! But I’m just giving my opinion is polite as possible!!
    Cleveland has a great young group that’s only going to improve specially if lebron’s there!!
    They have one of the elite guards in the game with kyrie, btw that hasn’t even hit his full prime yet, and would be scary good with lebron!!
    They also have other young talent they’ve gotten via draft, including the last 2 first round picks, and I believe a 4th pick over all.. Plus if they can work some magic, and trade for K-Love!! Uh ok look out!! Not to mention Bennett should come into his on this year!! Wiggins to me, is the wild card!! Just don’t know yet how good he’s going to be, even though I think he’s the real deal!!

    • Jerome says

      Bro the Cavs haven’t even made it Tia playoff game in the last 4 years.. That’s saying something in itself.. Atleast Miami was in the playoffs the year before Lebron came.. The Cavs lucked up and won the lottery at an increasingly high odd and drafted wiggins.. People say Parker was better but he plays Lebron’s position.. What are the odds right after he leaves for Miami Cleveland gets the number 1 pick to get Kyrie.. Just seems funny to me that they somehow get all of these picks and Lebron goes against all basketball odds and chooses the team with the less likely chance to win anything all because he’s from there and he hurt their feelings.. I mean really people’s says this helps his legacy but I think it’ll hurt it more than help, because if he never wins again.. He’ll be done as the greatest alive goes

      • Crispy says

        Huh, wasn’t that where the Thunder were about 4 years ago? Past is certainly not destiny. How good were the Lakers 3 year ago? Where are they now? Are you so sure that Wade won’t come up lame? How likely is he to be injured vs. Wiggins or Irving? And most of all, what have they done to address their three biggest issues — lack of a rim protector, a real PG, a backup for Wade, or even rebounding (McBob sucks rebounding). LeBron’s a smart guy and he’s laying his future on this. Do you bet with the old guys who look like Garnett and Pierce did 2 years ago, or do you strike out with the young guys.

        If you’re not emotional about it, you can see that there really is only one logical choice, (unless LeBron wants to opt out next year and screw Bosh and Wade in place at reduced salaries the next 4-5 yeras, which could work for him at least\)

  22. Jon James says

    He didn’t even correctly state Lebron’s birthday guys. SMH at the amount of credibility this guy is gonna lose when/if LeBron stays in Miami.

  23. Jon James says

    He doesn’t even get Lebron’s birthday correct. SMH at the amount of credibility this guy is gonna lose when/if Lebron stays in Miami.

    • Kyle says

      What the hell? How can you be so sure? Every other news agency seems pretty firm LeBron has not made up his mind. You posted this before the meeting was even over

  24. Dave says

    LeBron did earn the max salary for three years in Cleveland starting in 2007. He just wasn’t the highest paid player.

    • mobb marley says

      you aint rich homie dequan from the trap. youre david albert washington,you live in a gated community!!

  25. Justin Jimenez says

    This is the most unrealistic rumour yet just think about it he has everything he needs and miami has no competion in the east

    • jamezzy says

      Lebron clearly states that there’s a lot of missing pieces there for everything he needs or wants is not at miami

      • smartone says

        LeBron is going to sign a 1 year max contract with another team besides the heat, then resign with that same team after the 1st year for a 5 year max if he likes the circumstances, else sign with another team that best suits him for either a 4 year max or again another 1 year max. The beauty of this is that LeBron holds all the cards and can position himself with options. The problem is that he is gambling that he won’t get injured and that is a risk. All that being said, I think he will leave Miami for sure for either Cleveland or New York.

  26. Arky says

    I guess you figure that if he goes to CLE you look like a genius and if he doesn’t you rely on the “only 90%” thing but man.

    Also “the best player he will play with in Cleveland is named Kyrie Irving” is not a selling point for a guy like LeBron who respects defence.

  27. stevan Williams says

    Yeah he left Cleveland to get championship in Miami something he couldn’t do in Cleveland.,and something he still wouldn’t be able to do in Cleveland being the fact that they would have to gut there roster to sign him & the fact that if he does decide to,PAT Riley will do a sign & trade.which would be a top player or a cast of players & draft picks.then yes Miami falls but Cleveland doesn’t raise the pacers become the dominant team in the east,but then again that gives Miami more cap space to sign Melo or other top free agents plus a couple of Cleveland’s top draft picks from sign & trade which probably leaves Miami in the race while LeBron & Cleveland has to retool.Pat Riley a smart man,he has built championship teams before LeBron was out of the backyard & will continue to do so.it’s just the nature of the business,just like LeBron,Riley plays to win won’t let the heat come out on the bottom of all this.

    • says

      The Cavs do not need to gut the roster to sign LBJ. The can have Irving, Wiggins, Waiters, Thompson, Varejao within the cap.

      • JD says

        You’re dreaming! That team is nothing! No experience and the Spurs will have it for lunch just like the top 5 teams in the west. Spurs, Thunder, Clippers, Rockets, and Warriors are all better, and maybe the Pacers n the east. If Bosh goes to the Rockets? Watch out.

        • Carlos says

          They can trade 2 of their players after signing LeBron and have the cap space to bring in Love. Irving, Wiggins, Love, LeBron + 1 other guy they have + Allen + Miller = trouble for anyone.

        • JK says

          you obviously know nothing about basketball do your research before run your mouth stopping at hater it doesn’t look good on you

    • Crispy says

      And the tooth fairy’s going to put all that extra cap space it requires under his pillow. So far his “Cast” amounts to two guys who didn’t average 10 points a game last season and weren’t injured.

      All the Heat got is a year older, while the young teams go better. LeBron isn’t as dumb as Miami fans. He can see the window slamming shut. And Riley’s big moves remind me of when the Celts added Jermaine O’Neal after the Celts couldn’t repeat. #TooLittleTooLate

      • JD says

        You’re an ass. CAVS WON NOTHING WITH LEBRON AN HIS CAST OF RAG TAGS. HE HAS TO GO TO MIAMI TO “LEARN” HOW TO WIN FROMTHE MASTER PAT RILEY. Riley will just sign Carmelo and make another big 3. And you still don’t even get into the east finals because the Pacers are better. Morons. This is all conjecture.

        • loma says

          LEARN FROM THE MASTER? What did this “Master” do in NY? Truth is. Bosh, Wade and Bron would have won anywhere. If those guys were willing to come to the Cavs when bron asked them to, Miami would be still sitting on one NBA championship.

      • Punk says

        I can’t wait for Cav fans to go into another abyss of tears and hearbreak, get a life losers!!!

        BWAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

  28. shawn says

    I wish he would sign already so we can end this nonsense it’s getting old espn has nothing else to talk about other then where lebron or carmelo will end up

    • coachmorton says

      Lebron should stay in Miami. So the Spurs can tap that tail again with a team concept versus the Big 3 theory. The biggest problem is Coach Spo is not using his personel as a whole. Simply put Coach Pop said we meaning the Spurs has not as much talent. As the defending Champions Miami. This ship was won in playing Basketball to it’s FULLEST !

  29. James says

    You are one dumb motherfuquer. There is 90 percent chance he doesn’t go to Cleveland. Hey, no matter how hard you want it to happen, it just won’t you dumb fuq.

  30. Sheffield M says

    This “source” is probably starting this rumour on Houston’s behalf to influence Bosh. Lebron has no interest in babysitting a young team, hoping they’ll mature quickly; while letting his Prime years pass him by.

    • JP says

      BINGO!

      If he’s going to Cleveland, then they’ll be a decent playoff team. Kyrie and Varejao are extremely injury prone. Waiters is a head case that can’t get along with anyone. Thompson is extremely mediocre. Wiggins is extremely raw, and the guy they drafted at #1 last year is a bust. What’s his name again? …exactly

      It could be true that all his inner circle and family want to go back home… but stop saying it’s because he wants to win championships. Miami is his best shot, because they can add veteran help once Lebron commits.

      I’m sorry… but this is dumb. Which is better?

      PG – Norris Cole / Shabazz Napier
      SG – [broken] Dwyane Wade / Ray Allen
      SF – Lebron James / [broken] Danny Granger
      PF – Josh McRoberts / Rashard Lewis
      C – Chris Bosh / Chris Andersen

      …or

      PG – [never healthy] Kyrie Irving / Matthew Dellavedova
      SG – [head case] Dion Waiters / Joe Harris
      SF – Lebron James / [raw] Andrew Wiggins
      PF – Triston Thompson / [bust] Anthony Bennett
      C – [broken] Anderson Varejao / Tyler Zeller

      …give me a break.

      • Mike says

        No doubt Cleveland. Irving wasn’t injury prone last year. Check. Wiggins and Irving have more potential than Wade. Cleveland has a much better bench. They have 3 1st round picks next year (including Miami’s.) the week point was sf and Cleveland has the ability to bring in one more star. Bennett is in shape. Don’t underestimate the effect the coach had last year. No offense.

      • Cleve Rocks says

        With the 1st pick in the 2015 NBA Draft the Miami Heat Select….. Irving played more games than Wade. Cavs have a better cast. Miami has only 4 members. 3 new from that team Spurs toke apart. Grainger only played 12 games last year. McRoberts who. Oh, he is the guy that hit LeBron in the throat during the playoffs. Welcome to Cleveland’s world 4 years ago. Maybe he will return or not.

        • JD says

          71 to 53 games started, 2496 to 1775 minutes played..ok…BUT….54.5% shooting breaking MICHAEL FRIGGIN JORDANS RECORD FOR BEST SHOOTING PERCENTAGE FROM A GUARD VERSUS 43%..THAT’S RIGHT 43% OVER 11 PERCENT LOWER. GO SMOKE SOME MORE CRACK.

      • james says

        Get over it u cleveland haters! He is coming back! We just loaned him to u for 4 yrs! U got yours now its our turn!!

  31. cmoney says

    I literally joined this site to let you know that you are a fucking clown. 90%? You are talking out of your ass. Was that source lebron? NO!

    • Crispy says

      I’ll be looking for you on the site in a few hours, but don’t say anything — you shouldn’t speak while eating your words.

  32. jherm says

    Chris

    How many cavs fans ACTUALLY burned their jerseys. I saw video of the same person over and over again. You state it like it was widespread.

    The letter was NOT “taken down over night”. It has been largely unavailable to the public for years. There was an old internet link pointing to an outdated CMS (content management system) that would bring up the letter – this happens all the time.

    Please bring back journalism – don’t be an attention grabbing headline hunter.

  33. A.J. says

    Why do the people that cover the NBA pretend that Luol Deng’s Achilles tendon isn’t a problem waiting to happen. A GM would have to be an idiot or nuts to overpay him and/or give him a long-term deal.

    • Dan says

      Got to agree on Deng. Got to see a lot of him on the Cavaliers and he was really having issues with his legs on our team. Loved the guy but I think his lower body is going to hell on him. That Achilles is just waiting to snap and the fact Deng loves to play 800 minutes a night does him NO favors.

Trackbacks

  1. […] We know how out of hand NBA free agency can get when players like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are involved, but it may actually be time to consider the legitimately possibility of LeBron returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Amid various reports that the Cavs are pushing to sign LeBron and LeBron is listening, Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com adds that Mrs. LeBron James wants her husband to return to Cleveland. […]

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