LeBron declines option, becomes free agent

30 June, 2018, 01:06 | Author: Anita Tucker
  • LeBron James right might be hoping to have Kawhi Leonard on his side this season

Teams in the National Basketball Association can negotiate with free agents at midnight Sunday and the moratorium before they can sign new contracts ends July 6.

One implication of James opting out is that it likely removes Houston as a possible destination. But even if that is the case, opting into this final year of his Cavs contract would have been his best decision to keep all of his options open.

LeBron James will not exercise the mammoth $35.6 million option on his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers for next season, instead becoming a unrestricted free agent.

This is fantastic news for the likes of the LA Lakers, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Houston Rockets, all of whom have been linked with signing James in free agency. ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reported on Thursday James had texted Kevin Durant about teaming up on the Lakers, though it seems unlikely Durant would leave Golden State.

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Any team that acquires a player in a sign-and-trade gets "hard-capped" at $6 million more than the luxury tax, meaning the team's salary can not exceed that number.

If LeBron James leaves the Cavaliers, again, he'll have some explaining to do.

The Lakers, of course, are widely expected to sign to max free agents this offseason. He still could ultimately re-sign with the Cavaliers in free agency. James has been much more proactive in past summers working with the Cavs than he has.

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

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The chance to join one of the league's most iconic franchises has an appeal to James, who just completed his 15th season and said following this year's Finals that he remains in "championship mode". He also is unlikely to hold any meetings with teams, which is different than 2010 and 2014 - the last two times he was in the position of contemplating where to play next - when his decision stretched into mid-July.

"For me, it wasn't about money", Wade said.

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