LeBron James declining player option, will become unrestricted free agent

Posted June 30, 2018

James can also sign a short-term deal with Cleveland, something he has done each year since returning in 2014.

James told the Cavaliers that he is not exercising his $35.6 million contract option for next season and will become an unrestricted free agent, two people familiar with the decision told the Associated Press today.

The Houston Rockets nearly certainly would have needed to acquire James in an opt-in-and-trade scenario. Cleveland can offer James a five-year contract worth $205 million, while other teams can only offer a four-year deal worth about $152 million.

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Of course, if LeBron wants to build a team to dethrone the Warriors, taking away their best player would be a good start.

They may not be his top preference, but they can make the cap space to sign him outright, and their young core might be attractive to James. After the season, free agency wasn't even a thought.

The big question all season has been whether the Akron native will leave Cleveland again and it's nearly time for him to provide us with an answer.

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Kawhi Leonard has reached out to James, expressing interest in playing together, according to a report from Yahoo Sports' Jordan Schultz.

Whether that factor and what the Lakers can offer by way of a competitive roster, will be enough to lure James remains to be seen. The move was expected by the three-time champion, who played in his eighth straight NBA Finals this past season.

It's tough to deny Smith's description of Leonard's personality, as the star swingman has maintained a relatively low profile in his National Basketball Association career despite arguably being the league's best two-way player when healthy. George has been a seeming lock for Los Angeles since the Pacers traded him to Oklahoma City a year ago.

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"For me, it wasn't about money", Wade said. It will likely continue up until the time that James makes his decision. In each those two cases, James or his representatives met with several teams.