ESPN’s Brian Windhorst says LeBron James’ team isn’t in a literal cave

Jun 30, 2018, 07:01
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst says LeBron James’ team isn’t in a literal cave

The NBA's most impactful player has until 11:59 tonight to decide what to do with a $35.6 million contract option for next season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Free agency and the new league year begin at midnight ET on July 1. The Thunder can offer him more money and George could get a five-year, $176 million contract and stay in Oklahoma.

James will factor family - he has three children, and his oldest son is a rising hoops star - into the choice of where he plays next. If James had opted in, he could have chosen to approach this summer like Chris Paul did a year ago, and essentially force his way onto a team through a trade.

"James' decision to join the Lakers would neither be clinched nor doomed by that franchise's ability to trade for Kawhi Leonard". Lakers brass, headed by former National Basketball Association champion Magic Johnson, will now try to convince James to sign a contract that could be worth $152 million over four years in Los Angeles. So unless James is planning on taking a massive discount to sign somewhere, the chances of him joining the Rockets are now incredibly slim. The Los Angeles Lakers are also trying to acquire Leonard - plus free agent Paul George - to form a core of superstars in a major media market. Several reports have suggested that a return to Cleveland is possible, but the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics also are expected to be in contention.

"According to a couple of owners I've spoken to and a few executives I've spoken to, Dan Gilbert is known for not being particularly fond of LeBron James", Smith said Friday after James reportedly decided not to pick up his player option with the Cavs. He can no longer force a trade to a team that doesn't have enough room under the salary cap to sign him, likely leaving the Cavs, Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers as the only remaining contenders for the NBA's best player.

In 2010, James left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat, announcing his decision on an ESPN special that irked many.

The idea that James and his camp retreat to a literal cave would make for a great story, but alas, it is nothing more than an inside joke. He averaged 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 9.1 assist in 82 games last season.

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