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LeBron to opt out; where will he land?

05 July, 2018, 04:06 | Author: Tommie Newton
  • LeBron James becomes free agent after declining player option with Cavaliers, report says

The Cavs, who for now are way over the NBA's projected $101 million salary cap and have only a few roster spots to fill, are not expected to make an early splash outside of whatever happens with James.

Stay tuned to see how the story unfolds.

James, 33, would have made US$35.6 million (S$48.6 million) in the 2018-19 season had he exercised his option with the Cavs.

In 2014, he returned to the Cavaliers after an in-person meeting with team owner Dan Gilbert.

The three-time champion is now the most coveted prize in an National Basketball Association free-agent class that includes All-Stars Paul George and Chris Paul.

James can begin negotiating with teams Sunday, and free agents can officially begin signing contracts on July 6.

Cleveland wants to develop its young talent - including rookie point guard Collin Sexton - but wouldn't pass up the right opportunity to add an established veteran with James to improve their chances of reaching another Finals, sources indicated.

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Last week, OddsShark tweeted that the Lakers were heavily favored to sign James at 4-13, while the Cavaliers are second at 13-4. The Cavs' $3.4 million qualifying offer to make Rodney Hood a restricted free agent, as first reported by Cleveland.com, would bring the total to 11 players. He hinted at being happy with playing for the Oklahoma Thunder.

Speculation centres on contenders, including the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics, but James shed no light on his plans in multiple interviews broaching the topic. During the Finals, James said he is still in "championship mode", which clashes with his previous statements (one as recently as September) that he meant to stay with the Cavs.

James will factor family - he has three children, and his oldest son is a rising hoops star - into the choice of where he plays next.

James has been to eight consecutive NBA Finals and won three titles, the last with the Cavs in 2016.

He played all 82 regular-season games for the first time, averaging 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and a career-high 9.1 assists per game.

"Sad to say, but every player doesn't want to compete for a championship and be in a position where every possession is pressure", James said on June 7, the day before the Golden State Warriors completed their Finals sweep of the Cavs.

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