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LeBron opts out of Cleveland deal, becomes free agent

05 July, 2018, 04:04 | Author: Candice Daniels
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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. His salaries from the first 15 years of his career add up to a cumulative sum of $203 million - but LeBron could double his career salary earnings in a single contract if he plays another five years.

James' camp and the Cavaliers have been in regular dialogue since the season ended.

Teams can begin negotiations with free agents at 12:01 a.m. Sunday. While that means that Cleveland will be able to offer him a more lucrative long-term contract, it has also fueled further speculation that James may be on the brink of leaving.

James, who won the National Basketball Association (NBA) crown with the Cavs in 2016, said after this year's Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors that he would consult his family before deciding on his future. That's made it tough for Cleveland to upgrade its roster, but the Cavs remain committed to bringing back James even for just one more year.

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. Gilbert has gone above and beyond financial barriers to appease James, but the well could be running dry.

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But the frontrunners for LeBron are the Lakers. The appeal of playing for one of the league's most storied teams is another allure. But does he have enough time to let a group of unproven players with no postseason experience develop into a title contender?

WHY: Rising team; staying in the East.

"If I feel like it'll help our team - we explore every trade of players of certain magnitude or superstar, first-ballot Hall of Fame-type of players", Ainge told reporters. Well, at least young and outspoken center Embiid isn't.

Much like the Lakers, the Sixers lack postseason experience and James would be surrounded by players who have barely tasted the postseason.

The Cavs now believe they are "still in the mix" to retain James, according to McMenamin. That seems more likely if he has hopes of going elsewhere and forming another super team, with several big names set to become free agents next year.

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