LeBron James declines option, becomes prize free agent, sources say

by Leon Thompson July 1, 2018, 6:33
LeBron James declines option, becomes prize free agent, sources say

While James and Gilbert have notably been at odds several times over the years, McMenamin seemed to at least partially contradict Smith's report, writing, "A source familiar with the Cavs" thinking said re-signing James is Cleveland's "Plan A, B and C' when it comes to free agency". If James signs, the Lakers would also have an even better sales pitch to throw at free agent Paul George.

LeBron James will be a free agent at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, according to multiple reports. The team can offer the three-time National Basketball Association champion more years and money (five years, $207 million) than any other team.

James's decision, which came two days before the start of free agency, signals he is likely to play for one of three teams next season: Cleveland, where he can still re-sign, the Los Angeles Lakers or the Philadelphia 76ers.

James already has some shallow roots on the West Coast with two homes in the Los Angeles area and a film production company. ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported the Lakers have the "inside track" to sign James.

James is a 14-time All-Star, a 14-time All-NBA selection, six-time All-Defense selection, a four-time MVP and three-time champion. This will be about more than just this summer's transaction.

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Without any additional roster moves, losing James via free agency would drop the team below the league's $123 million luxury tax line, which would save owner Dan Gilbert from paying further tax penalties and give the Cavs more flexibility in acquiring players.

Let's take a look at what the Lakers roster and starting lineup would look like if James signed with the Lakers. He averaged 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 9.1 assist in 82 games last season.

James flew into Van Nuys Airport Saturday morning on a private jet from Anguilla, according ESPN reporter Arash Markazi.

It was James' eighth consecutive Finals appearance, a remarkable feat not matched since Hall of Famer Bill Russell and a handful of Celtics did it in the 1960s. He had done everything possible, and as he left Quicken Loans Arena following Game 4 along with his sons, there was an air of uncertainty heading into this summer. "That bridge, whether or not they can close that, will determine if there is a trade".

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