INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) LeBron James may wear a New York Yankees hat everywhere from his hometown of Akron to Beijing, but Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert thinks rampant speculation that the superstar will leave Cleveland in two years is "an insult to the city."
Gilbert said James has given him no indication that he plans to leave for New York after his contract expires in 2010. He called the talk of his departure nothing more than conjecture from bored sports reporters.
"It's kind of an insult to the city of Cleveland in my opinion an insult to the Midwest," said Gilbert, who spoke to the media at the Cavaliers' suburban practice facility Thursday, a few days before the team opens training camp.
James has two years remaining on a contract extension he signed with the Cavaliers in July 2006. He has said that he can't see himself playing anywhere else right now, and has declined to address what will happen in two years.
But his fondness for New York has helped prompt speculation that he will leave Cleveland for the New York Knicks or the New Jersey Nets, who are partly owned by his good friend, rap mogul Jay-Z.