CLEVELAND — Four years and three days after “The Decision,” LeBron James is apparently having a much harder time making up his mind.
The Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary High graduate kept the basketball world guessing — and the Cavaliers and Heat on pins and needles — by not announcing which team he will sign a contract with.
James was expected to reveal his choice on his website Thursday, but the homepage of LeBronJames.com remained static with the catchphrase, “Just a kid from Akron, Ohio.”
The 29-year-old small forward plans on attending the World Cup final Sunday in Brazil, leading to widespread media speculation out of Miami that he will declare his allegiance to the Heat during a stopover in South Florida.
James and Miami shooting guard Dwyane Wade spent the afternoon at the Nike-sponsored LeBron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas, adding fuel to the growing rumors that he would choose the status quo.
One day earlier, Heat president Pat Riley and salary cap expert Andy Elisburg met with the four-time NBA MVP and agent Rich Paul in Sin City. Wade and power forward Chris Bosh are also unrestricted free agents, putting great pressure on Riley to keep his core intact.
No negotiation session has been scheduled between “King James” and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, though Paul and Gilbert have held discussions in Cleveland over the past week.
James has made it clear he wants a multiyear contract for the NBA’s maximum allowed salary of $20.6 million per season. The Cavaliers and Heat have sufficient room under the salary cap to offer it to him.
While James remained in Las Vegas, a shipment of his automobiles arrived at his Bath Township home following its two-day transport from Coconut Grove, Fla.
The fleet is annually trucked back and forth between the family’s two residences, but this marked the first time that a large contingent of local television cameras — and overexcited fans — were there to chronicle the event.
Now a 10-time All-Star, James spent his first seven seasons with the Cavaliers, who made him the No. 1 overall choice in the 2003 NBA Draft. He remains the franchise’s all-time leader in points and steals.
James signed with Miami during his first foray into unrestricted free agency in July 2010, leading the Heat to four trips to the NBA Finals and two world championships.
Though he inked a five-year contract with Miami when he left Cleveland, the final season was a player option, which James declined in late-June.
The opt-out occurred shortly after Riley questioned his franchise player’s loyalty at a news conference, amid reports that James was displeased with Heat owner Micky Arison’s lack of spending during the previous summer.
Contact Brian Dulik at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter for the latest updates @BrianDulik.