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James a Cavalier again? Maybe

CLEVELAND — After practicing in a gym where he refined his game for seven seasons, Heat star LeBron James said Thursday that he would not rule out a return to the Cavaliers, the team he carried to the brink of a title before he spurned an entire region by leaving as a free agent in 2010.

Asked if he could play for the Cavs again, James paused.

"It would be fun to play in front of these fans again," he said. "I had a lot fun times in my seven years here. You can't predict the future. … I'm here as a Miami Heat player, and I'm happy where I am now, but I don't rule that out in no sense. And if I decide to come back, hopefully the fans will accept me."

James' comments may have been calculated, coming a day before the Cavs host the Heat for the third time since the messy exit from Cleveland.

Former teammate Daniel Gibson, when told of James' comments, told the Akron Beacon Journal: "I don't think he'd be welcome. … Not with the way that went down."

James said he has made no attempt to patch things with Cavs owner James Gilbert, who criticized James when he left. "I don't hold grudges," James said. "I hold them a little bit but (not) that long. He said what he said out of anger, and he would probably want to take that back. But I made a mistake, too, and there are some things I would want to take back as well."

Attempts to reach Gilbert were unsuccessful.

Game highlights: Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng each scored 23, and the host Bulls escaped with an 89-80 win over the Celtics after blowing a 16-point lead. Boston rallied to go up 61-60 in the fourth, but a 12-point Bulls run broke a tie at 69. Chicago's Joakim Noah had 15 points and game-high 16 rebounds… Danny Granger scored 32 despite playing on a sprained left ankle and the host Pacers beat the Nets 93-88, New Jersey's eighth straight loss.

Seattle arena: Christopher Hansen, a hedge-fund manager based in San Francisco and a Seattle native, made a $290 million proposal to his hometown that could be the impetus for a new arena that could bring the NBA and NHL to Seattle. All he needs is city and county approval, and two franchises to make it a reality. The proposal calls for $290 million in private investment toward the construction of an arena that would cost between $450 million and $500 million. Hansen and his group would be responsible for the purchase of an NBA franchise and finding a partner interested in bringing the NHL to Seattle.

Lin to All-star weekend: Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin has been invited to take a role in the All-Star Weekend's dunk contest in Orlando. Knicks rookie and dunk entrant Iman Shumpert is likely to have Lin provide assistance as a passer. On Thursday, the league added Lin to the Feb. 24 Rising Stars Challenge event roster, thus enabling Lin to help Shumpert. Then there's this: Madison Square Garden Inc., which owns the Knicks, has seen its stock increase 9 percent since Lin's arrival. It reached a high of $33.18 earlier this week before slipping to $31.91 Wednesday.

Bulls 89, Celtics 80

BOSTON (80): Pierce 6-16 2-3 14, Garnett 7-13 4-4 18, O'Neal 2-4 2-2 6, Rondo 7-17 3-4 17, Allen 4-13 1-1 12, Wilcox 4-7 1-2 9, Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Pietrus 1-5 0-0 2, Dooling 0-1 2-2 2, Bradley 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 31-78 15-18 80.

CHICAGO (89): Deng 7-15 3-4 23, Boozer 11-15 1-3 23, Noah 5-15 5-8 15, Watson 3-11 3-4 11, Brewer 0-3 0-0 0, Korver 0-5 3-3 3, Gibson 1-3 0-0 2, Asik 0-1 1-2 1, Lucas 1-3 0-0 3, James 2-5 3-4 8. Totals 30-76 19-28 89.

Boston 24 11 24 21— 80

Chicago 18 26 16 29— 89

3-Point GoalsBoston 3-15 (Allen 3-8, Pierce 0-3, Pietrus 0-4), Chicago 10-21 (Deng 6-9, Watson 2-4, James 1-1, Lucas 1-2, Korver 0-5). Fouled OutJames. ReboundsBoston 42 (Garnett 10), Chicago 63 (Noah 16). AssistsBoston 15 (Rondo 8), Chicago 27 (Deng 10). Total FoulsBoston 21, Chicago 20. TechnicalsWilcox, Chicago defensive three second. A22,592.

Pacers 93, Nets 88

NEW JERSEY (88): Stevenson 0-3 0-0 0, Humphries 11-14 2-2 24, She.Williams 3-6 2-2 8, D.Williams 10-24 8-9 29, Brooks 6-16 1-1 14, Emmett 1-1 1-2 3, Morrow 3-8 0-0 8, Petro 1-3 0-0 2, J.Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Gaines 0-0 0-0 0, Farmar 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 35-75 14-16 88.

INDIANA (93): Granger 10-20 8-9 32, West 6-16 4-6 16, Hibbert 5-11 3-4 13, Collison 2-8 0-0 5, George 4-8 2-2 11, Hansbrough 1-5 2-2 4, Stephenson 0-1 0-0 0, Price 3-6 1-1 8, Foster 1-1 2-2 4, Jones 0-5 0-0 0. Totals 32-81 22-26 93.

New Jersey 29 21 15 23— 88

Indiana 21 29 14 29— 93

3-Point GoalsNew Jersey 4-17 (Morrow 2-5, D.Williams 1-3, Brooks 1-6, Stevenson 0-3), Indiana 7-19 (Granger 4-7, Collison 1-2, Price 1-4, George 1-5, Stephenson 0-1). ReboundsNew Jersey 47 (Humphries 10), Indiana 48 (Hibbert 11). AssistsNew Jersey 13 (D.Williams, Brooks 4), Indiana 16 (George 5). Total FoulsNew Jersey 23, Indiana 20. A11,117.

James a Cavalier again? Maybe 02/16/12 [Last modified: Friday, February 17, 2012 12:05am]

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