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first_img___For more AP college basketball coverage: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25___This was generated by Automated Insights, http://www.automatedinsights.com/ap, using data from STATS LLC, https://www.stats.com Rutgers looks to sweep Wisconsin SUPER SENIORS: Wisconsin has relied heavily on its seniors this year. Nate Reuvers, D’Mitrik Trice, Aleem Ford and Brevin Pritzl have combined to account for 59 percent of the team’s scoring this year and 67 percent of all Badgers points over the last five games.SPARKING THE OFFENSE: Trice has either made or assisted on 41 percent of all Wisconsin field goals over the last five games. The senior guard has accounted for 18 field goals and 29 assists in those games.STREAK STATS: Rutgers has dropped its last four road games, scoring 62 points and allowing 66.8 points during those contests. Wisconsin has won its last five home games, scoring an average of 68.2 points while giving up 61.4.ASSIST-TO-FG RATIO: The Badgers have recently used assists to create baskets more often than the Scarlet Knights. Wisconsin has an assist on 49 of 74 field goals (66.2 percent) over its past three contests while Rutgers has assists on 30 of 71 field goals (42.3 percent) during its past three games.DID YOU KNOW: The Rutgers defense has allowed only 61.6 points per game to opponents, which is the 16th-best mark in the country. The Wisconsin offense has put up just 66.5 points through 26 games (ranked 272nd among Division I teams). Associated Press center_img Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditRutgers (18-9, 9-7) vs. Wisconsin (16-10, 9-6)Kohl Center, Madison, Wisconsin; Sunday, 1 p.m. ESTBOTTOM LINE: Rutgers goes for the season sweep over Wisconsin after winning the previous matchup in Piscataway. The teams last met on Dec. 11, when the Scarlet Knights shot 46 percent from the field en route to a seven-point victory. February 21, 2020last_img read more

first_imgAccording to the statement, Ogba stated that it was regrettable that Abati wrote authoritatively about a subject he has no firsthand information about, and wondered why Abati, who he alleged was not in Asaba, would write authoritatively about an event he did not witness.The statement reads in part: “Abati’s description of the Championship organisation as a disgrace is unfortunate and disgraceful. “Dr. Abati, a respected journalist, has a right to his opinions but to describe the organisation of CAA Asaba 2018 as a disgrace shows he is acting in a manner that suggests that he is being used.“It is regrettable that Abati wrote authoritatively about a subject he has no firsthand information on. He was not in Asaba, so why write authoritatively about an event you did not witness? I am sure if he had contacted his junior colleague, Olukayode Thomas, who is our Head of Media, he would have gotten some firsthand information and clearerinsight.“He could have called to check his facts and would have saved himself all the embarrassment the falsehood he penned is causing. He wasn’t even ready to give the organiser the benefit of the doubt. It is lamentable that a writer of Abati’s status in the media is relying on unverifiable information available on online media to write asensitive article’’.Ogba said the Championship had hitches that were dealt with swiftly and the few countries involved were grateful for the manner in which the issues were resolved.He said: “Compared to previous African Championships, we witnessed the least complaints, especially in the areas of feeding, accommodation and transportation. Contrary to Abati’s story, no country slept at the airport for three days.“Regular travellers like Abati know that our airports shut down by 11pm, so how can people sleep in an airport that is completely closed down by night? We had four hotels in Lagos. They include the two Ibis near the airport and Novotel where the athletes and officials that could not connect a flight to Asaba stayed and Abati is free to contact the management of the hotels.”Ogba who is apparently furious over the publication, argued that Abati was in a hurry to do a hatchet job and therefore did not tarry to carry out his research properly before going to the press, noting that a simple Google search would have told Abati that Ibrahim Gusau is the President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and not SolomonOgba.He added: “The search machine would also have informed Abati that it was not the AFN that organised the championships. Google would have supplied Abati facts to show that Team Nigeria under AFN was just one of the participating countries and that Tanzania was one the few countries that did not even participate.”Describing Abati as a neophyte in athletics, Ogba pointed that such explains why he swallowed the stories he read online about a bad track hook, line and sinker.He further said: “Asaba 2018 had the highest number of world-classathletes in Africa in recent times. If the track was bad, they will not run. Why would they risk their careers if the track was unfit for running? Caster Semenya ran a sub-50 to win the women 400m; Tobi Amusan ran a sub-13 to win the 100m hurdles; athletes who are running with caution don’t return such fantastic times, times good enough to win either the Olympic Games or IAAF World Championships.“Asaba Championship is the first ever championships were athletes get prize money for performances and were countries get transport allowances. Abati ought to have been better informed by sources in the know of sports related affairs.”However, he urged Abati to do a retraction of the publication within 48 hours or he would face a lawsuit.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Peter UzohoThe Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the just concluded 2018 African Senior Athletics Championships held in Asaba, Delta State, Chief Solomon Ogba, has described a back page article written by Dr. Reuben Abati, published in THISDAY Tuesday, August 7, 2018, with the title: ‘The Asaba Disgrace’, as “unfortunate and disgraceful.”In a statement issued Tuesday by the committee’s Head of Media, Olukayode Thomas, made available to THISDAY, Ogba said though Abati, a respected journalist has a right to his opinion but for him to describe the organisation of the Championship as a disgrace showed that he, he was acting in manner that suggested he was being used.last_img read more

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on July 7, 2020 at 6:28 pm Contact Thomas: tgshults@syr.edu | @ThomasShults5center_img The Daily Orange is a nonprofit newsroom that receives no funding from Syracuse University. Consider donating today to support our mission.Eric Devendorf abandoned the 2-3 zone as the ball flew from the corner to mid-court. Moments before it landed in the hands of a Men of Mackey player, Devendorf swatted the ball away and corralled it with his right hand.With another Men of Mackey player barreling toward him, Devendorf passed in transition to John Gillon, who completed the give-and-go for an easy layup.In its 76-69 win over Men of Mackey, Boeheim’s Army abandoned its strength – 3-point shooting – and instead focused on scoring in the paint to advance in The Basketball Tournament. Devendorf led BA with 20 points, shooting 9-for-14 from the field to go along with three steals. Three other players joined him in double-digits. Boeheim’s Army forced 18 Mackey turnovers to help build its first-half lead that withstood the Purdue alumni roster’s comeback in the second half.“When (Devendorf’s) 50 years old, he’s still going to be competitive in the gym, at the Y,” Boeheim’s Army head coach Ryan Blackwell said. “Getting texts at 50 years old with his kids saying, ‘What’s wrong with my dad?’”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe win, Boeheim’s Army’s first, is one of four needed for the $1 million grand prize in a TBT operating differently than it has in past years. All games will be played in Columbus, Ohio, rather than in arenas across the country — including in Syracuse, where BA was supposed to host a regional for the second consecutive year. Players are expected to stay inside a hotel at all times, quarantine on their own floor and only see opponents during games.TBT is one of the first live sporting events to return after professional and collegiate games were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it serves as an experimental basketball bubble before the NBA implements a significantly larger event in Orlando for its restart. Boeheim’s Army players needed to test negative for COVID-19 twice before arriving for TBT and will be subject to five total tests by the tournament’s end.In between those tests, those Zoom calls with nurses and Vault Health kits, are practices and games. Boeheim’s Army lost its minicamp that usually precedes TBT and had few training options before the tournament once gyms shut down.To compensate, Devendorf called Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim and asked if he could “sneak through that side door” and work out in his basement. A lack of minicamp also meant the team didn’t have the opportunity to bond before the tournament, so BA played card games such as Tonk before its first game as a substitute. Big man Donte Greene said he was “plotting” those card games before arriving in Columbus. Before its first game, BA teammates admitted Greene was the best card player.Isaac Haas scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Men of Mackey against Boeheim’s Army, helping key a second-half comeback that ultimately fell short. Courtesy of Ben SolomonOn the court Tuesday, Greene was tasked with guarding 7-foot-3 center Isaac Haas — the tallest player he’d ever faced besides 7-foot-6 Yao Ming. Haas finished with 12 points and eight rebounds, including four offensive rebounds. In one first quarter sequence, Men of Mackey grabbed six consecutive offensive rebounds before Malachi Richardson committed a foul. Brandon Triche scored four of Boeheim’s Army’s first six points, while Men of Mackey head coach Ryne Smith tried capitalizing on height in the paint. As the game continued, Men of Mackey emphasized Haas even more, closing Boeheim’s Army’s lead and forcing Greene into committing five fouls. While Men of Mackey attacked the paint, Boeheim’s Army shot more 3-pointers, which continued to clank off the rim. In the third quarter, Haas received a pass on the low block, spun to the left away from defender Will Rayman and was fouled on a layup attempt. He then calmly knocked down both free throws. Soon after, Men of Mackey briefly took the lead for the first time since the first quarter.“It’s pros out here,” Greene said. “It’s not a slouch tournament at all, everyone here can play.”Midway through the fourth quarter, momentum slowly swung back in Boeheim’s Army’s favor. With the game tied 58-58, Triche drove to the left side of the hoop, spun right, away from his defender, and finished the uncontested layup.While BA shot less than 20% from behind the arc, it converted 28-of-32 free throws. After collecting a defensive rebound with 4:12 left in the fourth quarter, BA’s Rayman was fouled and hit both free throws to take a 68-63 lead. But Men of Mackey’s comeback continued as it cut Boeheim’s Army’s lead to two, 68-66, before the Elam Ending began. But Devendorf, a constant on every Boeheim’s Army team, scored the first basket to give BA a 70-66 lead — six points away from the target score of 76. After the 2-3 zone forced a Men of Mackey turnover, Smith called a timeout for Men of Mackey, but Andrew White hit an open mid-range 2, followed by a Richardson made free throw.After a missed jumper on the next Men of Mackey possession, Boeheim’s Army raced up the court in transition offense, which scored 13 points off turnovers. Greene passed up a potential game winning three and Haas inside for a layup. “We wanted to make him move them big feet, man, that’s a big boy, 7-foot-3, 300 pounds,” Greene said of Haas. “So we had to bring him to the perimeter and get him moving.”Boeheim’s Army’s altered strategy was working. Meanwhile, Men of Mackey tried to use the same game plan that had been productive through the and tournament: Pass the ball to Haas in the paint.Haas caught the ball with his team on the brink of elimination and began to back down Greene. The former Syracuse big then poked the ball out of Haas’ hands, Men of Mackey’s 18th turnover of the game. Greene said after the game that since he turned pro, he’d honed his defensive craft.That allowed a full-court pass to Triche, sprinting down court and drawing a foul. The winningest Syracuse basketball player then walked to the foul line and clinched the game with a free-throw winner.“He probably outweighed me by at least 50, 6o pounds and he’s three or four inches taller than me,” Greene said of Haas. “When he brings the ball down I try to take advantage of him. You know I have some quick hands, I think Boeheim would be proud of me.”last_img read more

first_imgMIAMI, FL-February 1, 2020 –– AFRICA UMOJA The Spirit of Togetherness, a story of the African continent and its unbreakable spirit, is set to arrive in South Florida for its one and only American appearance Tuesday, February 25th through Sunday, March 1st 2020 at the Miramar Cultural Center in celebration of Black History Month. Sponsored by Cox Media Group and Aetna, the production is presented by and benefits The Embrace Girls Foundation, Inc.“All children should have access to opportunities that will help them thrive academically and socially. The Embrace Girls Foundation fills this need in underserved and low-income communities, ensuring that the students they serve are exposed to important and meaningful academic, wellness and enrichment programs,” said Richard Weiss, Aetna’s market president in Florida.“Aetna is proud to support this organization while building on our longstanding commitment to celebrating Black history.”Aetna is not alone in its support. The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives; The Links, Inc., Miami-Dade Chapter; Black Professionals Network (BPN); WMBM-Gospel AM 1490; and Jesus People Full of Faith Ministries all have committed to hosting shows encouraging their members to support. WPLGTV Local 10 and Miami-Dade County District 1 Commissioner, Barbar J. Jordan are sponsoring students to attend Educational Day Shows and Commissioner Jordan is also sponsoring a pre-retirement evening show for her Miami Gardens constituents.“We are extremely humbled to have the support these individuals and companies,” says Velma R. Lawrence, CEO/Founder of The Embrace Girls Foundation, Inc., a South Florida based charity that provides after and during school academic, social, cultural and life skills training for girls who reside in underserved communities, at-risk homes or, attend low performing schools adding “many of the families and students attending these shows may not have had the opportunity to share in this amazing cultural experience that embraces family, unity and most of all a cultural experience unmatched.”Conceived by Todd Twala and Thembi Nyandeni and produced by Joe Theron, Africa Umoja was developed to educate a new generation of South Africans about their rich heritage and the power of unity (Umoja is the Swahili word for unity) by showcasing the glory days of South African music and dance, that persisted even during the country’s hardships. However, the show has become much more than either of its founders could ever have imagined, dazzling audiences and receiving standing ovations and breathtaking reviews in more than 50 countries across the globe over the last two decades.Fueled by history, the cast of 33 young adults are arguably South Africa’s most versatile and dynamic singers, dancers and drummers, drawn from the myriad of cultures that compose their rural worlds. The production will feature traditional love songs, lullabies, and internationally acclaimed choreography that narrates in passionate song and dance the moving tale of love and community that helped Black South Africans triumph during some of their country’s stormiest passages.Audiences will experience life in townships through authentic tribal dancing, joyous gospel singing, explosive drumming and heartfelt performances in an exciting tribute to South Africa and the Zulu heritage. Africa Umoja also celebrates South Africa’s freedom and democracy through a tribute to Nelson Mandela. The production includes the song “Long Road to Freedom,” which was written in Mandela’s honor and performed to visuals of Mandela in jail on Robin Island and his release from Poslmor Prison in 1990. In addition, there is a jaw-dropping tribute to America’s civil rights legend, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.Africa Umoja carries the audience on a musical journey right up to “Kwaito,” the equivalent of American hip-hop in culture, fashion and expression that is the dynamic club climate of South Africa today. The authentic pride spilling off the stage is utterly irresistible and a refreshing change to the norm of manufactured performances. Africa Umoja is a pulsating celebration of Black History from then until now, telling a story that every family anywhere can embrace.The Miramar Cultural Arts Center is located at 2400 Civic Center Place, Miramar, Florida 33025.Multiple performances are scheduled as follows: Evening performances are Tuesday through Sunday at 7 P.M.; Matinee performances are Saturday and Sunday at 2 P.M.; Group Performances Booked at www.embracegirlpower.org include; Educational Student performances @ 10:30 A.M. designated days; Weekends from 11A.M. – 4 P.M., the Miramar Cultural Center will be transformed into the Africa Umoja Family Fun Village featuring the Island Boys Seafood Trucks Festival and a host of free family-friendly vendors and activities.All seats are reserved. Tickets are VIP Opening Night Gala: $100, $75 and $50; Weekday Nights: $60, $50, $25; Weekend Nights: $75, $65, $40; Educational Student Days: $15.last_img read more

first_img NBA trade rumors: Celtics F Jayson Tatum ‘wouldn’t mind’ being sent to Pelicans in Anthony Davis deal But, Tatum appeared to deny that report Saturday.“You start to understand that this is a business,” Tatum told ESPN. “I play basketball and I’ve just got to control what I can control, and I love being on the Celtics. I want to play there my whole career.” Related News Jayson Tatum doesn’t want to leave the Celtics.The 20-year-old forward has been at the center of trade speculation involving Pelicans star Anthony Davis and one rumor circulated last week said he “wouldn’t mind” being moved. The second-year forward is averaging 16.5 points and 6.3 rebounds in 31.2 minutes per game this season. He’s shooting 45.3 percent from the field and 37.9 percent from 3-point range.Tatum said he didn’t take the rumors personally.“I understood coming into the NBA that it’s a business and they have to make the best decision for them, whatever that may be, Tatum said. “Especially right now in a contract, I can’t control anything.“It didn’t really bother me. I wasn’t really fazed by it. A lot of it was rumors, I don’t know if it was true or not, but my job is just to play basketball.”The Celtics have had an up-and-down season but entered the All-Star break tied for fourth in the Eastern Conference standings with a 37-21 record. They’ve won seven of their last nine games. “It’s just a long season. Every year isn’t perfect,” Tatum said. “You go through ups and downs. We’ve been playing really well lately. We finished out strong going into the break. We won our last two. So, I’m just excited to get back and get ready for the playoffs.”Boston will return to action against the Bucks in Milwaukee on Thursday.last_img read more

first_imgUSA players celebrate with number 15 Megan Rapinoe after she scored in the 2-1 win over hosts France in the World Cup quarter-finalParis, France | AFP |  Megan Rapinoe stole the headlines again as her brace took the United States through to the semi-finals of the women’s World Cup on Friday, the holders beating France 2-1 in Paris to puncture the hopes of the host nation.Rapinoe’s free-kick five minutes into this quarter-final evaded a sea of bodies in the box on its way into the net to stun the home crowd at the Parc des Princes.The USA then soaked up pressure before delivering the knockout blow midway through the second half when Rapinoe turned in Tobin Heath’s centre, although Wendie Renard pulled a goal back late on for France to set up a tense finish.Jill Ellis’s team held on and they go through to a semi-final against England in Lyon next Tuesday as they seek to retain their crown and win a fourth World Cup in eight editions.“This is so special to beat the host nation in the Parc des Princes. You can’t ask for any more than this,” said Rapinoe.The pink-haired Rapinoe has been crucial on the field in this run, while dominating headlines off it thanks to her spat with President Donald Trump over her refusal to attend any post-tournament reception at the White House.The 33-year-old had already scored twice in the win over Spain in the last round. Here, she took her tally for the tournament to five goals on the occasion of her 157th cap.– French regrets –Meanwhile, France will leave their own tournament with more than a few regrets.Ellis praised the hosts, saying: “That’s a fantastic team we played tonight, and that is the most intense match I have ever been a part of.”Nevertheless, that will be scant consolation for them. They were the only team to defeat the USA in the two years leading up to the World Cup and they did not really do themselves justice here before an expectant crowd.Coach Corinne Diacre had been set the target of going all the way to the final on home soil, yet that always looked a tall order from the moment the draw was made last December and they were set on a quarter-final collision course with the best team in the world. “It’s a failure in a footballing sense, we can’t hide from that. We are far from fulfilling our objective,” said Diacre.“I hope we at least won people’s hearts tonight and since the start of the tournament.”Only once before had they even made it to the semi-finals, and for the second World Cup running their adventure ends in the last eight, the same stage at which they went out of the 2016 Olympics and the last three European Championships.Having started this tournament with a first-half blitz against South Korea in the opening game, Les Bleues never really reached the same heights again.The country’s leading sports daily L’Equipe had called this “the challenge of a lifetime”, and in that context conceding the opening goal so early on a sweltering Parisian evening was a disaster.Alex Morgan was fouled by Griedge Mbock outside the area to the USA left, and Rapinoe’s low delivery went in without taking a touch, passing through the legs of France skipper Amandine Henry en route.The home side then had lots of the ball but rarely really troubled USA goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.Their opponents had not created much either, although they made their intent clear right at the start of the second half as a Samantha Mewis strike drew a fine save from Sarah Bouhaddi, who then did well to keep out Heath’s follow-up.The second goal arrived in the 65th minute, with Morgan and Heath combining down the right before the latter’s ball across goal was turned in by Rapinoe.France did not give up and set up a frenzied finale as they reduced the deficit nine minutes from time, Renard evading her marker to head in Gaetane Thiney’s flighted free-kick for her fourth goal of the tournament. But the USA saw out the victory.Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

first_imgThe National Weather Service in Miami has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Eastern Palm Beach County in Southeastern Florida until 4:30 p.m.“60 MPH Wind Gusts, NWS reports.Locations impacted include West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Boynton Beach, and Delray Beach.CBS12 reported a Significant Weather Advisory for northeast Palm Beach until 4 p.m., with hail, gusty wind and funnel clouds possible as these storms move east at 10 mph.Click here for live updates.last_img

first_imgThe Palm Beach County non-profit health care center, FoundCare has been swamped with COVID-19 test requests and has to suspend the drive-thru service on Congress Avenue in West Palm Beach.Here is their statement:Effective immediately, FoundCare, Inc., a nonprofit Federally Qualified Health Center, is no longer taking appointments for its COVID-19 drive-through testing station in the parking lot of its location at 2330 South Congress Avenue in West Palm Beach. The site was set up to test Palm Beach County residents for COVID-19 with a prior appointment only. FoundCare has been overwhelmed with calls for appointments, and individuals have been showing up without following required screening protocols and confirmed appointments.“Currently, we have scheduled appointments through April 10,” said Yolette Bonnet, CEO of FoundCare. “Until we receive additional test kits, we are unable to further schedule any testing appointments. We ask for the public’s understanding during these uncertain times. We will announce if we are able to resume testing as soon as those kits become available. In the interim, we will not see anyone for testing if they do not have a confirmed appointment. You will be turned away.”FoundCare announced its testing operations on Sunday, March 15 and by Monday, March 16 they had received more than 6,000 calls requesting an appointment. The West Palm Beach based FQHC was clear that patients must call for a prior appointment and answer screening questions in order to be scheduled. Patients who did not meet those requirements were turned away from the testing site.“For those patients who have an appointment to see us, we will proceed with testing as long as our supplies remain,” said Bonnet. “We hope to receive additional supplies soon and will communicate that information at www.foundcare.org. In the meantime, we encourage patients to contact the Florida Department of Health for other options for testing.”FoundCare, Inc., celebrating 35 years in the community, uses a sliding fee scale based on household size and income, and no one is turned away for inability to pay. With several locations throughout Palm Beach County, FoundCare offers such one-stop services as pediatric and adult primary care, new women’s health services, chronic disease management, behavioral health services, dentistry, pharmacy, laboratory services and x-rays.For more information about FoundCare visit www.foundcare.org or call 561-HEALTHY (432-5849). To reach the Florida Department of Health please visit www.floridahealth.gov or call 866-779-6121.last_img read more

first_imgThis Sept. 30, 2013, file photo shows Miami Heat basketball player player LeBron James posed during the team’s media day in Miami. Four years after their messy breakup, the Cavaliers and James are at least talking about a reunion. Cavs officials met with James’ agent, Rich Paul, this week about the free-agent superstar’s possible return. The sides visited as James continued his family vacation, a person with knowledge of the details told The Associated Press on Thursday night, July 3, 2014. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter, File)MIAMI (AP) — Before LeBron James makes his next decision, Pat Riley will get a chance to convince him to stay in Miami.Two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press late Sunday night that James will meet with the Heat president this week before making a decision about where to play next season. The time and location of the meeting were still being scheduled, said the people who spoke on condition of anonymity because neither the Heat nor James announced their plans publicly.“In the next two or three days,” one of the people said.Monday would seem difficult, unless James’ schedule changes. He has a commercial shoot planned and was expected to travel to Las Vegas later in the day for his annual camp with some of the nation’s best young basketball players, an event that opens Wednesday. James also has been planning a trip to Brazil for the World Cup final on July 13.There’s urgency from the Heat perspective as well. NBA players can begin signing new contracts Thursday, with some deals already having been agreed upon and plenty of others likely to fall into place in the coming days, so it would clearly benefit the Heat to know James’ plans sooner than later.USA Today Sports first reported the plans for James and Riley to discuss matters.The news of the planned Riley-James meeting came toward the end of a wild Sunday, sparked by news that one of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert’s private jets was heading to South Florida. And the plane did land at an airport in Fort Lauderdale around 6:40 p.m., albeit at a different facility than the flight plan indicated, for reasons that were not made clear.The plane stayed for about 3½ hours. It was unknown who was on the plane.Still, the mere notion of a James-Cavaliers reunion seems to have Cleveland — the team the Akron, Ohio, native spent his first seven seasons with before leaving for Miami — on anxious edge.James opted out of his contract with the Heat last month, as did fellow Miami stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. James’ agent, Rich Paul, met with the Cavaliers, Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks while the four-time NBA MVP was vacationing last week.James’ decision would figure to set off a wave of other deals. If he stays in Miami, that would almost certainly help convince Wade and Bosh to stay with the Heat. If James returns to Cleveland, the Cavaliers would more than likely have to make a trade of some significance to open up salary cap space.Riley and the Heat won over James with their sales pitch four years ago — and Miami has been to the NBA Finals all four years that it has had James in uniform, winning two championships. When James made the highly expected move to opt out and become a free agent this summer, Riley said through the team that he looked forward to having an opportunity to meet with him and discuss their futures together.Now, it would seem they’ll be discussing if they’ll actually have a future.The Cavs are hoping they can impress James with a young roster that includes No. 1 overall draft picks in Kyrie Irving, Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins. In the early hours of free agency last week, Irving agreed to a five-year, $90 million contract extension the All-Star point guard is expected to sign Thursday.Cleveland also has room under the salary cap, but will need to clear more space to offer James a max deal.One stumbling block for the Cavs could be the fractured relationship between Gilbert and James. When James left in 2010, Gilbert wrote a scathing letter to Cleveland fans, condemning the four-time league MVP. He also told the AP he felt James quit in playoff games.While James has been out of the country with his wife, Savannah, and their two sons, Paul has been working on the four-time MVP’s future. Unlike four years ago, when teams flocked to Cleveland to make presentations to woo James, the courtship of him this time has been low key and rather business-like.The Cavs have waited patiently for their chance to try and convince the Akron, Ohio, native to come home. In the past few weeks, the Cavs have hired new coach David Blatt, selected Kansas swingman Andrew Wiggins with the No. 1 overall pick and gotten All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving to agree to a five-year, $90 million contract extension.Now, they’re working on bringing back James, who has never ruled out the possibility of a return.Two years ago, James was asked if he could ever see himself playing for the Cavs again.“I don’t know. I think it would be great,” he said. “It would be fun to play in front of these fans again. I had a lot fun times in my seven years here. You can’t predict the future and hopefully I continue to stay healthy. I’m here as a Miami Heat player, and I’m happy where I am now, but I don’t rule that out in no sense.“And if I decide to come back, hopefully the fans will accept me.”Cleveland fans, most of them anyway, have gotten over James’ infamous “Decision,” when he announced he was leaving on a nationally televised special. He was booed mercilessly in his first games back with the Heat, but in recent years he has been received more favorably. Maybe that’s because the Cavs haven’t been to the playoffs since he left and Clevelanders know he might be the only chance they have to see a championship in their lifetimes.Cleveland hasn’t won a title in any of the major sports since 1964.If he were to come back, James could repair the damage he did to his image when he left.But that remains a big ‘if.’In order for James to play again in Cleveland, he and Gilbert would have to have some sort of reconciliation. Gilbert’s letter — famously typed in comic sans font — was a blistering attack on James, who had carried the Cavs to the NBA Finals in 2007 but failed to deliver on his promise of a championship. Gilbert had guaranteed the Cavs would win a title before James, but later regretted the prediction.“Looking back now, that probably was not the most brilliant thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Gilbert said.He and James may get a second chance together.___AP Sports Writer Tom Withers in Cleveland contributed to this report.last_img read more