If Miami Heat president Pat Riley didn’t already have a fire lit under him to sign new free agents, he does now.
Rich Paul, LeBron James’ Cleveland-based agent, met face-to-face with officials from at least four teams, including the Cavaliers, Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks, sources told ESPN. Mavs owner Mark Cuban was spotted in Cleveland, but he denied he was there for NBA-related business and said the visit was related to his show, “Shark Tank.”
Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has a Friday meeting scheduled with Paul, a source told ESPN.
James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade reportedly gave Riley a “window” to build up the Heat’s roster around the Big Three, and it’s unclear if this news means that window is closing. James is asking for a maximum contract of around $20.7 million per year, while Bosh wants a five-year, $90 million contract. For that reason, Riley will have to find free agents who are good enough but could come at a low cost.
Pau Gasol is one of those free agents, but he’s also apparently being courted by the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder and New York Knicks, among others.
Meanwhile, James is on vacation with his family and plans to attend the 2014 FIFA World Cup final in Brazil on July 13. He’s allowing Paul to handle all initial discussions with teams on his own.
Photo via Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports