Major development in LeBron James' NBA future
Four-time NBA MVP LeBron James may be set to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time in his career after he reportedly declined his $35.6 million option, and thus will become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
James, who resigned with the Cavaliers in 2014 after four years with the Miami Heat, has brought the Cavaliers to four consecutive finals where he has won one championship.
LeBron James’ agent informed the Cavs he will not exercise his $35.6 million option and thus will become an unrestricted free agent, sources told @clevelanddotcom ... Story coming
— Joe Vardon (@joevardon) June 29, 2018
Sources: Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James has declined his $35.6M player option for 2018-19 and will enter free agency.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 29, 2018
The Cavaliers were swept in this year's NBA finals by the defending champion Golden State Warriors and according to ESPN NBA insider Stephen A. Smith, James has reached out to Warriors All-Star Kevin Durant about linking up with the Los Angeles Lakers next season.
I'm being told LeBron James texted Kevin Durant about coming to LA. pic.twitter.com/jJyeOOSgxN
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) June 28, 2018
Free agency officially begins on Sunday and James will attract interest from every team that can fit him under their salary cap.
80 percent of NBA teams are expected to be over the cap next season with the Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers, Lakers and Cavaliers the primary frontrunners to sign the three-time NBA champion.
However, while he has reportedly declined his option, he also opted out of his contract with the Cavs in 2015 to sign a new "one-plus-one" deal, and then opted out of his contract again in 2016 to sign a new deal with two years guaranteed and a player option for the third year.
According to ESPN front-office insider Bobby Marks, Cleveland can offer James a more lucrative deal than any other team -- a five-year max contract in the neighborhood of $207 million. Any other suitor can offer a four-year pact worth $152 million.