LeBron James swats rumor of being in Pa. to tour school

APTOPIX Cavaliers Hawks Basketball
LeBron James (23) could become a free agent after the season.

CLEVELAND — LeBron James on Thursday dispelled the rumor that he visited Malvern Prep during the NBA all-star break for a  tour  with his two sons in mind.

The Cleveland Cavaliers superstar will become a free agent  July 1. The Sixers, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, and Cavs are believed to be on his short list of teams. According to the rumor, he was in the Philadelphia area after the All-Star Game game shopping for schools.

An NBC Sports Philadelphia reporter asked James at Thursday’s shootaround at the Cavs’ practice facility if he went to any high school in Pennsylvania, and, if so, why.

“Pennsylvania? No,” he said. “What are you talking about? No. Over the all-star break? No. I was on vacation, then I went to Los Angeles.”

Another version of the rumor had James’ representatives, not him, touring the school.

Kurt Ruch, the athletic director at Malvern Prep, said the school “cannot deny or confirm any of the rumors,” when asked if James or any of his people visited or made inquiries about Malvern Prep.

An official from Malvern Prep athletics also declined to confirm or deny the rumors.

James was named MVP of the All-Star Game on Feb. 18 at the Staples Center. The Cavs’ last game before the all-star break was Feb. 13 in Oklahoma City. The all-star didn’t have media availability in Los Angeles until Feb. 17.  Cleveland played its first game after the all-star break Feb. 22 at home against the Washington Wizards.

“That’s random,” said Sixers point guard Ben Simmons, who doesn’t believe that rumor. He and James are good friends and share the same agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports.

“When I heard it, I was like, I thought he was in L.A.,” Simmons added.

Simmons rookie of the month again

Simmons was named the Eastern Conference rookie of the month for the second consecutive month.

He led all NBA rookies in assists at 7.7 per game in February. He also paced conference rookies in scoring (16 points per game) and rebounds (7.3) during the month.

Simmons scored a career-high 32 points to go with 11 assists and seven rebounds in a 116-115 victory over the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on Feb. 22. The Australian made a pair of go-ahead foul shots with 5.6 seconds left.

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell was named the Western Conference rookie of the month.

Cleveland responds with own billboard

You knew this was coming.

A billboard in downtown Cleveland on Thursday responded to Power Home Remodeling, a roofing and remodeling company in Chester that put up three billboards in the Cleveland area on Monday morning recruiting LeBron James  to Philly.

It was a special message to Sixers fans who want James. It read “HEY PHILLY,” with a crown that appeared to be shaped like a middle finger. Underneath  was “#THELANDOFTHEKING.”

The billboard was just a couple of blocks away from Quicken Loans Arena, the Cavaliers’ home.

Aaron Carter contributed to this report.