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Cavaliers felt they were on cusp of landing LeBron James

The Cavaliers were very confident they'd get an agreement from LeBron James on Thursday, probably because his agent told them he wants his client in Cleveland. But no agreement came, perhaps because Miami is making one last push.

With LeBron James extending his massive free agency decision indefinitely, the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers -- like the rest of us -- anxiously await news from the four-time NBA MVP. While James flew back to South Beach on Thursday night with Dwyane Wade, per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, it's felt like the Cavs are a borderline frontrunner.

That's probably because LeBron's agent, Rich Paul, has been leading Cleveland to believe he's "determined to deliver the prodigal son of Northeast Ohio back home," according to Woj.

While we all know who's ultimately running the show, James gave Paul significant freedom early in free agency to talk with teams and parse out options. The Cavaliers were "told to clear max salary-cap space" and did so quickly, trading the contracts of Jarrett Jack, Tyler Zeller and Sergey Karasev in a three-team deal with Boston and Brooklyn.

With that deal out of the way and the Cavaliers free to offer James a max-level deal starting at nearly $21 million in salary, Wojnarowski says the team "operated with a belief James would soon commit to them, that it was only a matter of time," by late morning on Thursday.

But once the rumored 3:30 p.m. announcement never came and James was seen hanging with Wade later that night, speculation immediately began Cleveland didn't have this thing on lockdown. And now that it's Friday morning and we're still waiting, nobody really seems to know where things stand.

This was supposed to be resolved by now, from all indications, and will likely get done this weekend as LeBron plans to visit Brazil for Sunday's World Cup final. But it's easy to wonder if miscommunication between Paul, James and front offices have prolonged this situation as LeBron takes personal control of the situation.

Not long ago, the Cavaliers were considered just a fringe contender for LeBron, a possible destination but one lacking the necessary talent to lure the legend back home. Given that the team wasn't exactly being aggressive in its pursuit of James before the past couple weeks, it makes sense that Paul would've motivated them to make such moves.

Now everyone just wants a decision, though, and there's reason to believe it will come soon. Whether it's Cleveland or Miami, LeBron has indeed appeared to trim his list to two suitors, and both teams could still very well be in the mix. In the end, we'll have a better idea of just how much the Cleveland thing was Paul's plan, or LeBron's.


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