Dan Gilbert's open letter criticizing LeBron James removed from Cleveland website

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LeBron James is in the midst of deciding where he will play his basketball next season, with his agent in the process of meeting with various NBA teams for discussions including Lebron's former team the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Cleveland  have in recent days emerged as legitimate contenders for the four-time MVP's signature, and James' former employers have left no stone unturned in their bid to bring him back to the city.

As first noticed by ESPN's Brian Windhorst, after four years in the public domain via their official website, the Cavs have finally removed owner Dan Gilbert's open letter to Cleveland fans written following James' decision to leave for Miami in 2010.

The letter was a thinly veiled attack on Lebron James and included several attacks on the NBA superstar's character and actions as he opted to leave the team he had been drafted by.

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The Letter

Gilbert and the Cavs front office are known to be one of several teams making a run at James following the players decision to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. And with news today that LeBron's agent has intermitted to those close to the situation that Cleveland have a legitimate chance of bringing in his client, it is clear that the franchise are keen to distance themselves from such a damaging document.

At various points in the letter (which can be seen in full here) Gilbert calls James and his actions; "narcissistic", a "deserter", "cowardly", "heartless and callous", before saving the most cutting blow for one of the final paragraphs:

"The shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown "grown one" sends the exact opposite lesson what we would want our children to learn."

Strong words indeed for a man they are now so desperately seeking to return to a Cavaliers jersey.

Check out just how good he was the first time around...

LeBron's options

The Cleveland Cavaliers face stiff competition for James, with the player's agent having also met with the Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers.

James himself is also rumored to be meeting with Pat Riley, the president of the Miami Heat. Having won two NBA titles and reached four consecutive Finals during his stay with the Florida team the likelihood of James returning to the Heat is certainly a viable option.

Hence the drastic action by the Cavaliers today. It remains to be seen who wins out in the battle for the face of the NBA but the mere fact that the Cavaliers have gone to the trouble of removing such a potentially damaging letter from the backwaters of their website shows just how seriously 

The only problem is. Having been up for four years and having brought such controversy at the time it is pretty safe to assume Gilbert's comments are already well known to the only man that matters - LeBron James.

LeBron James
Miami Heat
Cleveland Cavaliers

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