11:12am: There’s still confidence within the Heat organization that James will re-sign with them as there’s difference between Paul’s agenda and that of James, Wojnarowski tweets.
9:14am: It’s at the urging of agent Rich Paul that Cleveland is looking to clear cap flexibility for a max contract for LeBron James, as Paul has given the Cavs the belief they have a strong chance to sign the four-time MVP, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Paul has been telling people for years that it’s been “something of a mission” for him to bring James back to Cleveland, Wojnarowski writes.
James hasn’t been a part of Miami’s recruitment of talent this summer, and that’s sparked some worry surrounding the Heat, as Wojnarowski details. For Cleveland, the ability to sign James would also play a role in rookie scale extension talks with Tristan Thompson this summer, since he’s also a client of Paul’s. Thompson would have increased leverage, with the Cavs in position to pay back Paul for delivering James to Cleveland, Wojnarowski surmises.
The Cavs will try to split their max cap room among second-tier free agents, including targets Channing Frye and Trevor Ariza, if they’re unable to sign James, sources tell Wojnarowski. Cleveland is still thinking about tendering an offer sheet to Gordon Hayward, but the organization expects it wouldn’t extend a max offer to Hayward, and the Jazz plan to match any such offer, Wojnarowski hears.
James still has hard feelings about Cavs owner Dan Gilbert’s sharply worded public letter in response to James’ 2010 departure from the team, as Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported earlier. That letter, which had been up on the Cavs official website for the past four years, has apparently been removed, Windhorst tweets.