Monday, 23 July, 2018

LeBron James to opt out, will become a free agent

Basketball: Free agent fireworks set to begin for NBA teams LeBron James becomes an unrestricted free agent
Sergio Cook | 03 July, 2018, 02:14

As of Saturday afternoon, the city of Cleveland is on edge as it waits to learn whether LeBron James will leave in free agency, or return to the Cavs.

Wojnarowski added that disgruntled San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard is still set on also donning the iconic purple and gold colors.

It's interesting that James could wait until Tuesday to announce his decision, though, being that numerous more talked-about free agents will be off the board by that time.

While it's anyone's guess, right now it appears that James' final decision could be between going to the Lakers or staying with the Cavaliers. The Los Angeles Angels can have Mike Trout, the best player in baseball, and still be thoroughly mediocre because he gets only four or five at-bats a game. More than that, he has let his agent Rich Paul and the rest of his team handle dealings with teams (although LeBron himself has reached out to players he wants to team up with - player-to-player is not tampering under the NBA's rules).

Philadelphia would instantly vault from conference contender to favorite with James, who could make a strong run at his ninth straight Finals in Year One.

The move will make the three-time champion the most important figure during the upcoming free agency period which will feature other big name stars like Paul George, Demarcus Cousins and Chris Paul.

For the rest of this year's free agents, James, Caldwell-Pope and Stephenson signing with the Lakers eliminates one of the few teams with significant cap space on the market.

Los Angeles is believed to be the first stop for James on his free agency tour.

Even if James is involved in the meetings, he has no interest in hearing elaborate pitches from teams, ESPN reported this week.

James became a free agent when he declined to pick up the one-year, $35.6 million option in his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and reportedly did not take any meetings with teams from around the league, as he did in the summer of 2010.

George's choice could sway James to sign a short-term deal with Cleveland, but the Lakers are determined to get their hands on the four-time MVP. In Los Angeles, championships are the standard and he'll feel new pressure in upholding the legacies of Johnson, Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West and other Lakers greats.

James gave Cleveland something to remember in his final season. James flew from the Caribbean island of Anguilla and landed in Van Nuys just after 11 a.m. PT. Well, at least young and outspoken center Embiid isn't.

In June, Gary Payton fueled rumors that James would end up in Los Angeles by telling a reporter that James' 13-year-old son had committed to play at Sierra Canyon High School in Los Angeles next year. While there had been dialogue between Paul and Altman since the season ended, James had not given the team any sense of his plans.

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