LeBron opts out of Cavs deal, sets up National Basketball Association free agency circus

Lonzo Ball Le Bron James

James, 33, had one year remaining on his three-year, $100 million contract with the Cavaliers.

James, who opted out of his contract with the Cavs on Friday, is set to become a free agent, and there's no doubt the star forward will generate league-wide interest on the open market.

There has been talk James is intrigued by the thought of going out west to play for the Lakers, if he can get another All-Star like Paul George or Kawhi Leonard to join him. There is mounting pressure on Lakers president Magic Johnson (lower right) and general manager Rob Pelinka to land a top talent in a trade to hopefully pair with James, according to ESPN.

He's expected to make a decision before the Fourth of July holiday, ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst said in a recent podcast interview. "It ended a drought for Cleveland of 50-plus years, so I think we'll all remember that in sports history".

Cleveland still should not fret, though, as the franchise is still in a position to bring James back this summer. "You would need Joel Embiid to be sitting at the table with LeBron and say, 'I'm ready to play with you". Basically, James is now likely to only sign with a team that has ample cap space. This might come down to Cavs vs. Lakers, leaving the 76ers as an intriguing but less realistic option. The Houston Rockets and the Boston Celtics, the former probably being more relevant in this discussion.


Houston didn't want to see James decline his option because it essentially removed the Rockets from the equation.

An off-season rarely goes by without James or his team making a huge move. The Lakers could be as far as $61 million under the cap this summer if they renounce Brook Lopez, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Brook Lopez, Channing Frye and Isaiah Thomas.

James has bolted as a free agent twice - in 2010, when his contract was up with Cleveland and he chose the Miami Heat, and in 2014, when he exercised the early termination option in his Heat contract and returned to Cleveland.

James won two consecutive National Basketball Association championships with the franchise from 2012 to 2013.

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