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LeBron James to opt out, will become a free agent

01 July, 2018, 10:09 | Author: Candice Daniels
  • LeBron James averaged 27.5 points 9.1 assists and 8.7 rebounds this past season. More

Bob Garcia IV is a sports journalist from Southern California. Hours before National Basketball Association free agency opened with the three-time champion as its most coveted prize, James returned Saturday to Southern California, where he has two homes and a film production company. But the Cavaliers assembled a weak supporting cast around James last season and attempted to revamp the team the trade deadline.

When the free agency period begins on Sunday morning, LeBron James or any of his representatives will not have an in-person meeting with Cleveland Cavaliers officials, according to a report by ESPN's Dave McMenamin.

The LeBron sweepstakes took another step Friday, as the star forward informed the Cleveland Cavaliers that he would not be picking up his player option for the 2018-19 season. The Sixers are among the teams hoping to woo him.

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The potential of a superteam in Los Angeles or a partnership with his close friend Chris Paul in Houston is appealing - but leaving Cleveland in free agency will come at a significant cost. Coming off one of the best seasons of his career, James is one of the most sought-after free agents in the league's history.

The emotional side to this is obvious, James is separating from the Cavs again (for the third time in four years) with no guarantees that he'll re-sign. The Cavaliers can offer him a max deal of $205 million over five years ($41 million annually), while another team can max out at $152 million over four years ($38 million). 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. In the long run, Los Angeles' wild success is riding on whether or not they land a star. 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. Though there's still a chance that King James will choose to stay with the Cavs, sources say he is eyeing teams like the Lakers and 76ers.

It is unlikely, though, that telling James to leave Cleveland - only to wait a year to have championship-level talent around him - will be a winning sales pitch.

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