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Report: Cavaliers hire team of attorneys to build LeBron tampering case against Heat

Dec 1, 2010, 7:13 PM EDT

New Jersey Nets v Miami Heat Getty Images

So Dan Gilbert is over LeBron leaving? Riiiiiight.

The Cleveland Cavaliers owner has spent several hundred thousand dollars to pay a team of attorneys to build a tampering case against the Heat that he can then present to the NBA, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.

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 officially declined comment on the report.

The release of this story the day before James returns to Cleveland by Wojnarowski — who has been hard on LeBron James, to put it mildly — makes the cynic in us come to the fore. There may well be some truth here, but take this with a few grains of salt is what we are saying. The timing of this certainly should play well in Cleveland… but certainly that is just a coincidence.

Tampering would be very hard to prove. No Heat player or representative — that includes Dwyane Wade — could talk to LeBron James or his representatives about the specifics of him and Chris Bosh coming to Miami prior to July 1. However, that is very different than the three of them saying, “we should all play together” at the Olympics.

The report is that the attorneys are targeting “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.” So, an alleged meeting well before the Heat knew exactly how much cap space they would have available, and Wade meeting with James’ team — who met with a whole lot of people — are what we are focusing on here? There may be some smoke, but proving a fire is a very different thing.

If tampering were proven, the penalties could be severe, including losses of draft picks and suspensions for front office personnel.

There is a river of back-channel communications in the NBA. A Mississippi of such talk. To pull out parts of these things and prove tampering is a tall order.

But if you’re Gilbert, it’s something that plays well with the home fan base on the eve of James’ return.

  1. ljl2 - Dec 1, 2010 at 8:37 PM

    Yeah…because if it was just those two things and that is it a smart businessman would be willing to spend in the hundreds of thousands of dollars (already) and continue that spending. Something tells me there’s more to it than those two instances.

    • tubal22 - Dec 1, 2010 at 9:39 PM

      Since Dan Gilbert is worth $900,000,000, a couple hundred thou isn’t going to mean a lot if he doesn’t get anything out of it.

      • ljl2 - Dec 1, 2010 at 11:11 PM

        those with self-made wealth didnt get that way or maintain it by chasing rabbit holes endlessly

  2. bc666 - Dec 1, 2010 at 9:32 PM

    Oh there was tampering involving LeBron but it wasn’t by Miami. It was done by LeBron, Wade and Bosh themselves much earlier. When they became such good friends during the Olympics you know they started chatting about playing together come 2010. Teams can’t call or e-mail or text these free agents but there’s nothing stopping the players themselves from staying in contact with each other. There was a shimmy sham going on but it was by the players themselves.

    • ljl2 - Dec 1, 2010 at 11:11 PM

      as long as wade was under contract he was considered “miami”

      • florida727 - Dec 2, 2010 at 8:05 AM

        wrong. he was considered an EMPLOYEE of Miami. big difference. when I worked for IBM, a good friend of mine worked for HP. if we talked, was that considered “tampering”? I don’t think so. tampering has to involve specific discussions about specific scenarios, including specific circumstances coming to fruition to reach a desired end result. if proving tampering were so easy, Gilbert’s bar bill wouldn’t be in the several hundred thousand dollars range. bottom line can be found in one word: PROOF… and Gilbert doesn’t have any… at least not yet, or he’d have already presented his case.

      • ljl2 - Dec 3, 2010 at 3:45 PM

        Actually, according to Woj’s article, a player under contract is not allowed to talk to another player or representatives of that player about coming to their team while under contract. The rules of the regular world are different than the rules and structures of the sports worlds. It’s not that they can’t talk period, that would be ridiculous, its that they cannot talk about joining one of their teams. The meeting Wade had with some of LeBron’s friends and representatives in Chicago while both were still under contract would violate that. But I’m sure you are more informed about the NBA’s bi-laws.

  3. deiong - Dec 1, 2010 at 11:18 PM

    everyone knows there was an abundance of tampering. but stern is so greedy, hes doing anythign to put buzz back into the nba. he coudl care less about right and wrong,

  4. edwardomolina - Dec 2, 2010 at 12:27 AM

    Lebron will be just fine

  5. hnirobert3 - Dec 2, 2010 at 7:42 AM

    No chance Stern bats an eye. This happened months ago and now they’re starting this? Stern already addressed the tampering/collusion thing months ago and said if it was among players it wasn’t tampering/collusion. Riley is too savvy to have been involved in any of it. If there is some proof of tampering, I’m sure he has a guy lined up to take the fall.

    Let me ask you, if Lebron’s a quitter, a loser, a cheater, etc., why do you care? You should be happy that he left? Oh, that’s right. Cleveland is lottery bound.

    Riley = Gangsta. Gilbert = Slave Masta.

  6. alltimeballa - Dec 2, 2010 at 8:45 AM

    Come on man!!!! Sounds so childish like the kid who takes his ball and runs home because he lost the game. Gilbert should be thankful for the seven years that Lebron made his pockets fatter while putting the Cavaliers on the sports map in another way other than when MJ hit “THE SHOT!” Face it HE IS GONE AND HE WONT BE BACK!

  7. fouldwimmerliak - Dec 2, 2010 at 9:53 AM

    Of course there was tampering, but nothing will come of it. Not in the NBA.

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