Miami Heat fans are sweating Wednesday afternoon, but it’s not because of South Florida’s notorious climate. Multiple reports are beginning to paint a picture that free agent superstar LeBron James may be heading back to Cleveland.
According to CBSSports.com and Yahoo! Sports, the Cleveland Cavaliers cleared enough salary cap space Wednesday to sign LeBron to a four-year, maximum value contract when it traded Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev to the Brooklyn Nets.
Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday that LeBron has “reached out to two vet free agents last week about joining him, IF he left Miami, sources tell Yahoo. Mike Miller was one.”
The other player may be former Heat shooting guard Ray Allen. ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported Wednesday that the Cavs have stepped up a pursuit of Allen to theoretically join him up with LeBron should the King go back to the Cavaliers.
The Cavs have obviously gone all-in to try to re-acquire James and it’s now up to Riley and company to deliver a knockout presentation to swing James back to the Magic City.
Cleveland has reportedly tried to interest Minnesota in a trade for power forward Kevin Love, but those talks haven’t gotten to any serious stage yet. Plus, the Cavs have other options on the table should James decide to leave Miami.
For the Heat, there is no obvious Plan B if LeBron informs the team he’s planning on leaving South Florida. If LeBron did choose to leave, the Heat could theoretically do a sign-and-trade with Cleveland that would give LeBron his full five-year contract and get something back in return, be it a player, draft picks, and a large trade exception.
The Heat would likely lose the services of Chris Bosh as well if LeBron decides to leave Miami. Bosh has a max contract offer of 4-years and over $90 million on the table from Houston to join the Rockets. Bosh’s preference is to stay in Miami with James, but if James leaves, all bets are off the table.
Teams can’t officially sign free agents until midnight Thursday. The Heat will likely have the last meeting with LeBron before the signing period opens. Miami has the best in the business in Riley trying to close the deal, the only question left is can he do it and keep LeBron in Miami?