After the Cavs suffered back-to-back NBA Finals losses to the Golden State Warriors, reports surfaced Friday (June 29) that LeBron James will not pick up the player option on the final year of his contract… and will become a free agent.
The third year in his contract was worth $35.6 million for 2018-19, which he has now declined.
With the news, LeBron becomes likely the main target of many teams during this stacked free agency class, which also include Paul George, Chris Paul and DeMarcus Cousins, among others. However, just because LeBron is a free agent doesn’t mean be will leave the Cleveland Cavaliers.
According to ESPN, the Cavs can offer LeBron a five-year max contract in the neighborhood of $205 million. Any other team can offer a four-year deal worth $152 million.
Another option for LeBron and Cleveland would be one-plus-one deal, which would give him the option to explore free agency again in the summer of 2019 — 2018-19 would be $35.4 million, and 2019-20 would jump to $38.2 million as the option year.
Experts believe the Los Angeles Lakers is a destination that he may consider this summer. They are said to be in discussions with the San Antonio Spurs to acquire all-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard, which would give LeBron another star to play alongside… while also allowing L.A. to offer James a max deal.
The Sixers, however, have also made an offer for Leonard.
LeBron, now 33, is coming off one of his best seasons in his 15 years in the leage. He played all 82 games for the first time and averaged 27.5 points (his most since 2009-10), tied a career high with 8.6 rebounds per game and set a career high with 9.1 assists per game while shooting 54.2 percent from the field.
Where will he land next season? We have to wait and see, but we’d love to hear where you guys want him to play?