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Cavaliers Pursuit Of LeBron James Intensifying? Zydrunas Ilgauskas Flies On Dan Gilbert’s Jet To Florida

By DARYL RUITER, 92.3 The Fan
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(Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)

DarylRuiter_300 Daryl Ruiter
Cleveland Browns beat writer and member of the Pro Football Writers of...
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Updated July 7, 2014 at 1:17 a.m.

CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The Cleveland Cavaliers pursuit of LeBron James may have gone into overdrive Sunday.

Former Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskas was on a plane owned by owner Dan Gilbert and that few to south Florida Sunday multiple sources tell 92.3 The Fan’s Anthony Lima.

92.3 The Fan’s Joe Lull initially reported that Dan Gilbert was traveling to south Florida Sunday afternoon, which the Cavs owner quickly denied on Twitter by posting: “I am? Sorry folks but enjoying weather in my backyard today.”

While Lull’s report set off a firestorm on Twitter, a plane that is owned by SLAN, LLC., which is a subsidiary of Rock Ventures and owned by Gilbert, took off from Pontiac, Michigan and was initially scheduled to land at Fort Lauderdale International Airport at 6:26 p.m. Instead it landed at Fort Lauderdale Executive Field 15 minutes later.

The traveling party was on the ground for approximately 4 hours in Florida before the plane departed at 10:46 p.m. and landed back in Pontiac, Michigan at 1:07 a.m.

Ilgauskas is extremely close with James and it is possible that he could be part of the team’s pitch to convince the 4-time NBA MVP to return to Cleveland, where he spent his first 7 NBA seasons. James opted out of his contract with Miami where he made 4 consecutive NBA Finals appearances and won 2 NBA Championships last month.

The relationship between the Cavs and Ilgauskas was strained in February when Chris Grant was fired as general manager. Igauskas was prepared to step away from the organization and focus on his family, but new GM David Griffin has rebuilt that relationship according to multiple sources.

James returned to Cleveland in March for Ilgauskas’ jersey retirement ceremony. Some viewed it as a mending of the fences between James, Gilbert and the organization after the infamous comic sans letter from Gilbert that followed ‘The Decision’ in 2010.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Cavaliers are working on completing a trade or trades to open up the max slot needed to sign James. Wojnarowski said that Cleveland is looking for a team to absorb Marcus Thornton’s contract which they’d likely receive from the Nets in exchange for veteran guard Jarrett Jack, who is scheduled to make $6 million this season.

Cavaliers officials met with James’ agent Rich Paul Thursday in Cleveland. Officials from the Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and LA Lakers also met with Paul late last week.

Fox 8 Sports Director John Telich reports that Kyrie Irving texted a friend Sunday, “I can’t wait to play this year. The Cavs are gonna b back.”

ESPN, USA Today and the Associated Press report that James is in the process of setting up a face to face meeting with Heat president Pat Riley early this week where it’s expected that his intentions will be made known.

James’ schedule is tight this week. He is holding his skills academy July 9-12 in Las Vegas and then is scheduled to travel to Brazil for the World Cup so there is the potential that a decision from him could come quickly.

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