The Miami Heat president met with the four-time NBA MVP on Wednesday afternoon in Las Vegas, two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because neither side publicly disclosed details of the meeting. James, his agent Rich Paul, Riley and Heat executive Andy Elisburg were at the meeting, said one of the people.
James has not made a decision and will not
make any announcements before Thursday, a person said, adding, ''He
wants to meet with his family.''
As he weighs his options, James will not meet with any other teams, the person added.
now, Miami waits. So does Cleveland. So, too, does just about the
entire NBA - because once James picks the Heat or the Cavaliers, the
teams believed to be serious suitors for his services, the domino effect
of other free agent moves will surely follow.
The meeting in Las
Vegas lasted for more than an hour and took place more than two weeks
after James opted out of his contract and elected to become a free
agent, and the day before free agents may begin signing contracts.
spent part of his day before the meeting at his annual skills academy
with some of the nation's top high school and college players,
interacting and observing workouts. That was part of the reason why
Riley had to fly across the country to make the meeting happen, with
hopes that he would return to Miami from the gambling haven with a huge
win - keeping James in Heat colors for at least another season.
teams have met with Paul during the free-agent process, but it appears
James has only one decision to make: Cleveland or Miami, the same choice
he pondered four years ago when he decided play with the Heat. With
James, the Heat won four Eastern Conference titles and two NBA
The Cavaliers didn't sit idle waiting for James and Riley to meet.
created salary-cap space earlier Wednesday with a three-team trade with
the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets, ensuring they have enough to
offer the James a maximum contract.
But James had said he would meet with Riley and the Heat before making his decision.
meeting came nearly three weeks after Riley addressed reporters
following Miami's loss to San Antonio in the NBA Finals, when he
insisted that the Heat needed to make some adjustments to get better -
but didn't need a massive rebuilding job to stay at a championship
''You've got to stay together if you've got the guts, and
you don't find the first door and run out of it if you have an
opportunity,'' Riley said on June 19. ''This is four years now into this
era, this team, four finals. It's only been done three other times
before. And two championships. From day one to the end, it was like a
Broadway show. Sort of ran out of steam, and we need to retool. We don't
need to rebuild, we need to retool, and that's what we're going to
If James leaves, it'll be more than a retooling project that awaits Miami.
Wade and Chris Bosh - the other members of Miami's ''Big 3'' of the
past four seasons - are also free agents, and neither has given any hint
as to what they will do, though it's still expected Wade will not leave
the Heat. Miami has just two players under contract for next season,
one of those on a partially guaranteed deal. The Heat have also reached
agreements with forwards Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger, as well as
the draft rights to guard Shabazz Napier, but there's still plenty of
jobs to be filled.
And the Heat have mostly been in a holding pattern while waiting for James to make his next decision.