LeBron James, the league’s No. 1 free agent whose agent has had conversations with four teams, plans to meet with Miami Heat president Pat Riley this week to discuss re-signing with the team.
James has not spoken publicly about his situation and has not met with any teams since opting out of his contract with the Heat on July 1.
Rich Paul, James’ agent, has had conversations over the phone and in person with the Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks.
James is planning to meet with several teams face-to-face this week. He also is scheduled to be in Las Vegas for a Nike-sponsored camp this week.
James’ representatives have made it clear they are looking for a maximum-level contract, which would start at approximately $20.7 million.
Meanwhile, James’ teammate, Chris Bosh, is being heavily courted by the Houston Rockets, who are hoping to convince the big man to take less than the max deal Miami could pay the Dallas native, to team up with all-stars Dwight Howard and James Harden in his home state.
Sources say Bosh remains willing to take slightly less than his value on the open market to return to the Heat if James and fellow free-agent Dwyane Wade are also coming back and if Riley can upgrade the current roster.
But nearly a week into free agency–with James’ agent Rich Paul having opened negotiations with a handful of rival teams and Riley having secured no free-agent commitments–sources say Bosh has felt compelled to consider other options.
“They appreciate what they’ve done in Miami those four years together, and they want to make sure they have a chance to have that same success the next four (years),” Henry Thomas, agent for Bosh and Wade, told ESPN.com’s Michael Wallace on Sunday at the Orlando Pro Summer League. “With Dwyane, he’s been there his entire career, so he’s in a unique situation. Chris has made it known how he’s felt about being in Miami these four years.”
James, Wade and Bosh each opted out of the final two years and more than $40 million left on their respective contracts last month to become free agents.