Cavs wipe out owner's scathing letter as they court LeBron

Mon Jul 7, 2014 6:48pm EDT
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(Reuters) - The Cleveland Cavaliers are polishing up a determined bid to bring LeBron James back, finally removing from their website the scathing letter written by the team's owner to fans after their star player chose Miami as a free agent four years ago.

Now with the Cavs intent on luring the Akron, Ohio, native back to Cleveland as a member of the 2014 free agent class, the NBA team removed an old link to Dan Gilbert's impassioned letter that was active as recently as Sunday.

Hours after James went on a nationally televised special to reveal his controversial decision to join the star-studded Miami Heat rather than re-sign with his home-state Cavaliers, Gilbert lashed out in anger.

The angry letter described the move by James as "selfish," "heartless," "callous," and a "cowardly betrayal" - and vowed that a curse would deny him the championships he craved in Miami and that the Cavaliers would win a title without him.

The NBA fined Gilbert $100,000 for the comments.

James went on to lead Miami to four consecutive trips to the NBA Finals and two titles while Cleveland finished last in their five-team division three years in a row before a third-place finish last season.

Cleveland's struggles, however, may have set the Cavaliers up as an attractive team for a James homecoming as the high draft picks they garnered as a result allowed them to amass a core of talented young players.

Cleveland recently reached agreement with premier point guard Kyrie Irving, the 2011 number one overall draft pick, to a five-year extension worth about $90 million, and they used the top pick last month on high-leaping forward Andrew Wiggins.

With James retaining a home in the Akron area and strong family ties in the area, the Heat have been hard-pressed under the tight NBA salary cap to retool a team that were humbled in last month's NBA Finals by the San Antonio Spurs.   Continued...

San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) shoots against Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) in game five of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center. Jun 15, 2014, Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports