LeBron James has turned down the player contract that would have seen him earn 35.6 million dollars next season and instead will become a free agent. It is the first time since returning to Cleveland that the Cavaliers have been anxious that they could lose their hometown hero. That being said, signing with the Lakers to play alongside Leonard, Lonzo Ball, and whoever else the Lakers bring in would give him a better chance. James has given the Cleveland Cavaliers notice and is opting out the final year of his contract which is worth a reported $35.6 million.
Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during the first half of a game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on November 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. 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).
James had already indicated that he wouldn't be taking part in any elaborate pitch meetings from teams, primarily because of the time-consuming nature of that effort. And with rumors that George might actually remain with the Thunder instead of going to his hometown Lakers, the ripple effect may find its way to LeBron. That includes the Cavaliers, who can offer more money than anyone else. This will be about more than just this summer's transaction.
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LeBron James was spotted by AIR7 HD landing at Van Nuys Airport on Saturday after a long flight from the Caribbean. Superstar James Harden won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award earlier this week, and James has a strong relationship with Rockets point guard Chris Paul, who is also a free agent.
The 33-year-old averaged 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 9.1 assists and 1.4 steals and shot 54.2 percent from the field this past season. They might jump the 76ers (+860) if James announces he's staying in Cleveland.
Free agency hasn't even started yet. Gilbert has gone above and beyond financial barriers to appease James, but the well could be running dry.