James is currently on holiday with his family and isn’t involved in the discussions.
The agent of Miami Heat star LeBron James has reportedly met with at least four teams this week sparking further rumours that the two-time NBA champion might leave.
While all the initial talk centred around James demanding a max deal from the Heat and whether or not the organisation were willing to sacrifice their ability to significantly strengthen the roster to give in to his demands, it is now reported that agent Rich Paul has held discussions elsewhere.
According to USA Today, sources close to the situation have revealed that the Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Dallas Mavericks were among those teams to talk with Paul, while the Houston Rockets are said to be the fourth team interested.
What is clear is that the longer this situation rumbles on, it is likely that the Heat will be put in a weaker position having already missed out on Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry after he agreed to a new deal with the franchise.
In addition, Luol Deng is said to be uninterested in taking a pay cut in order to join the Heat, which starts to restrict what president Pat Riley is capable of achieving in free agency.
While the priority remains getting the Big Three to re-sign, there is seemingly tension growing between the trio with James’ demand for a max deal ensuring that both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will likely have to take drastic pay cuts in order to allow Miami to add role players.
Although James was instrumental in helping the Heat get back to the NBA Finals last year after averaging 27.1 points and 6.4 assists during the regular season, Miami’s lack of quality in depth arguably made the difference in their loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
While the Western Conference outfit had numerous options off the bench to turn the game, Miami were perhaps over-reliant on their star trio and ultimately the absence or lack of influence from players such as Mike Miller, Shane Battier and Ray Allen were part of their shortcomings.
Nevertheless, while Paul is potentially discussing deals with other teams at this stage, it is also worth noting that this could be a ploy from James’ agent to put further pressure on the Heat to give his client a max deal.
The 29-year-old has previously insisted that his family is happy in Miami and aside from playing at the AA Arena, James has various businesses in the city and other commitments which would suggest that the ideal scenario would be to re-sign with the team.
However, while it is understandable that he would want to secure a more appropriate salary this time round after negotiating down back in 2010, his demands continue to put the organisation in a difficult position and it is questionable as to whether or not Riley would be able to make the necessary moves in the free agency market if he is forced to work within the limitations that James’ deal would create.