MIAMI — One of the last things Miami Heat president Pat Riley told LeBron James before free agency began this summer was that he would be selling potential players on the notion of playing alongside a four-time NBA MVP.

And James never made him think otherwise, Riley said — until roughly the same moment the world was made aware of James’ plan to go home to Cleveland.

Riley made that revelation Wednesday, shortly after the Heat completed the signing of Chris Bosh to a $118 million, five-year contract and essentially wrapped up its roster-rebuilding project for next season, the first of the post-LeBron era in Miami.

The Heat has 12 players locked in for next season, Bosh and Dwyane Wade foremost among them, and Riley expects the four-time defending Eastern Conference champions to compete once again this coming year. But much of his first session offering in-depth remarks about free agency revolved, predictably, about James — the MVP who got away.

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“I went into it with the thought and the notion that he was coming back and I was selling that to players,” Riley said. “ … I let him know that. . He never said to me, ‘No, don’t do that.’ ”

Riley, however, noted he did not feel misled by James during free agency.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento Kings got the green light from the NBA to build their new $477 million arena, setting the stage for preliminary demolition to begin downtown Friday.

The league’s advisory/finance committee, consisting of 10 team owners, approved the Kings’ loan terms and lease arrangement with the city of Sacramento, Kings president Chris Granger said.

NEW YORK — Former commissioner David Stern praised the NBA’s handling of the Donald Sterling controversy and predicted it will “end well” for the league.

Stern said his successor, Adam Silver, has been “forceful” but also “demonstrated a compassionate side” in his reaction to the racist remarks that were made by the Los Angeles Clippers owner.

Silver fined Sterling $2.5 million and banned him for life after the recorded comments became public. Sterling’s wife, Shelly, later agreed to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for a record $2 billion, a transaction the league believes will close shortly even as Donald Sterling continues trying to fight in court.


• The Minnesota Timberwolves signed veteran guard Mo Williams to a $3.75 million, one-year contract to back up point guard Ricky Rubio.