MIAMI — Before LeBron James makes his next decision, Pat Riley will get a chance to convince him to stay in Miami.
Two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press late Sunday night that James will meet with the Heat president this week before making a decision about where to play next season. The time and location of the meeting were still being scheduled, said the people who spoke on condition of anonymity because neither the Heat nor James announced their plans publicly.
“In the next two or three days,” one of the people said.
Monday would seem difficult, unless James’ schedule changes. He has a commercial shoot planned and was expected to travel to Las Vegas later in the day for his annual camp with some of the nation’s best young basketball players, an event that opens Wednesday. James also has been planning a trip to Brazil for the World Cup final on July 13.
There’s urgency from the Heat perspective as well. NBA players can begin signing new contracts Thursday, with some deals already having been agreed upon and plenty of others likely to fall into place in the coming days, so it would clearly benefit the Heat to know James’ plans sooner than later.
USA Today Sports first reported the plans for James and Riley to discuss matters.
The news of the planned Riley-James meeting came toward the end of a wild Sunday, sparked by news that one of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert’s private jets was heading to South Florida. And the plane did land at an airport in Fort Lauderdale around 6:40 p.m., albeit at a different facility than the flight plan indicated, for reasons that were not made clear.
The plane stayed for about 3 1/2 hours. It was unknown who was on the plane.
Still, the mere notion of a James-Cavaliers reunion seems to have Cleveland — the team the Akron, Ohio, native spent his first seven seasons with before leaving for Miami — on anxious edge.
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