Thursday marks LeBron James’ first visit to Cleveland as a member of the Heat, and what fantastic timing for Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski to reveal Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert (above) is gathering evidence that he hopes will implicate the Miami organization for tampering with James prior to the Akron product’s free agency.
The NBA won™t launch an investigation into a tampering case without a formal request from a team, but sources say Gilbert™s plan is to give commissioner David Stern a detailed case that includes meetings, phone calls and contingency plans that date as far back as 2008. Gilbert will implore Stern to use his powers as commissioner to get access to phone records and testimony of key people surrounding Heat president Pat Riley, James and others potentially involved.
Gilbert has spent several hundred thousand dollars on the investigation and will spare no expense to uncover whatever evidence he can to take to the league office, two sources with direct knowledge of the probe told Yahoo! Sports. The law firm staff includes several former prosecutors with backgrounds in investigating and constructing cases, sources said.
One focus of the law firm™s probe includes an alleged Riley-James meeting in Miami in November 2009, and a meeting of James™ inner circle with Wade in Chicago in June 2010, sources said.
It’s an unpleasant distraction during an emotional day for James, certainly, but Erik Spoelstra can’t be totally displeased. Pat Riley is far less likely to take over the coaching reigns if there’s even the slightest chance of having to serve a suspension in mid-season.