LeBron James, Heat's Pat Riley exit Vegas meeting without agreement
ESPN.com reported Wednesday that James will not make a decision on Wednesday and that he wants to discuss his options with his family. The NBA's free agency period has ground to a halt as the league waits on the game's biggest star to decide where he will play next season, even though the moratorium on agreements will end at 12:01 ET on Thursday. Yahoo Sports first reported that James and Riley parted on Wednesday without an agreement.
James, who is in Las Vegas as part of his annual basketball camp, became an unrestricted free agent in June by exercising the early termination option on his previous contract, which had been worth $109.8 million over six years. He had two years and $42.7 million remaining on that deal.
Rich Paul, James' agent, reportedly met with the Cavaliers, Rockets, Mavericks, Lakers and Suns last week in Cleveland. The Associated Press reports that Paul and Heat executive Andy Elisburg also attended Wednesday's meeting.
James has not addressed his free agency directly this week, although did post two photographs of his childhood friends to his Instagram account on Wednesday.
The Heat entered the summer as the odds-on favorites to land James thanks to their recent dominance of the weaker Eastern Conference, their star trio of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and their ability to offer James a max contract. Riley has agreed to sign free-agent forwards Josh McRoberts ($23 million over four years) and Danny Granger ($4.2 million over two years), as the Heat hope to re-sign James and claim their third title of the "Big Three" era.
However, the Cavaliers have emerged as strong suitors in recent days, pitching James on the possibility of returning to his home state and playing alongside 2012 rookie of the year Kyrie Irving and 2014 No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins. Cleveland agreed to trade away guard Jarrett Jack and two other players on Wednesday to create enough room under the salary cap to offer James a max contract.
James, 29, averaged 27.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.6 steals last season, earning All-Star, All-NBA First Team and All-Defensive Second Team honors. The four-time MVP and two-time title-winner led the Heat to their fourth straight Finals appearance in 2014. The No. 1 pick in the 2003 draft out of Akron, OH., James spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Cavaliers.
SI.com ranked James at No. 1 on our "Top 25 Free Agents of 2014" list, noting he remains the league's most dominant individual force even though Thunder forward Kevin Durant took home MVP honors this season.