Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who has never tried to hide his anger at LeBron James' departure, has reportedly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars building an investigation against the Miami Heat for signs of breaking tampering rules when they were wooing the Akron native earlier this year, according to a recent Yahoo Sports report.
The wealthy Cavs owner reportedly "won't relent until he has a thick binder of findings to drop on the desk of the NBA commissioner," Yahoo reports. The NBA will only open tampering investigations if it is requested by at least one team against another.
According to league rules, no team official (players included) can meet and discuss the playing future of a potential free agent on another team with said free agent prior to the beginning of the mid-summer free agency period. Penalties vary from fines to loss of draft picks, but the rule has rarely been enforced.
One focus of the law firm's probe includes an alleged Riley-James meeting in Miami in November 2009, and a meeting of James' inner circle with Wade in Chicago in June 2010, Yahoo reports. This year's free agency period began July 1.
Riley, James, Wade and Bosh have denied there was a predetermined collusion in the historic free-agent binge, Yahoo reports, although the players have admitted to discussing the possibility of playing together as far back as the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
In addition to Gilbert's preparation for an investigation, Cleveland fans are preparing for LeBron's return to his first NBA home tonight.
In fact, feelings of betrayal run so deep in Cleveland, that security has been stepped up dramatically in and around the Quicken Loans Arena, where the Cavs play.
"We've been able to put a plan together to have a safe, positive environment at the game, but we're not going to create a police state," Tad Carper, a team spokesman, told the NYTimes. "We understand that this is a very emotional game for everyone."
Carper said that fans would not be allowed to bring in signs that are profane or vulgar, and all beers will be poured, not sold in plastic bottles. As always, everyone who enters the building, including concession workers and members of the news media, will have to pass through full-body metal detectors.
Additional security officers, including some working undercover, will be in attendance.