If early rumors and speculation are any indications, the frenzy surrounding LeBron James’ potential free agency this summer is going to be unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.
James has the option to opt out his $35.6 million contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers when the 2017-18 NBA season ends. LeBron is expected to opt out and become an unrestricted free agent regardless of his intentions to stay or leave Cleveland, because opting out allows James to re-sign with the Cavaliers on a longer-term deal with a higher annual value if he wants to stay.
Once that opt out becomes official, though, all bets are off. All 30 NBA teams are going to send James their best recruitment pitch, and while most teams won’t even garner a response from James, several organizations can present LeBron with a legitimate pitch, and while it likely won’t be televised, we’re on a collision course to The Decision Pt. 3.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been a popular pick among NBA speculators. James hasn’t helped matters, as he recently purchased a new multi-million dollar home in the area. The James-to-Lakers rumors make sense from a business standpoint, but from a basketball standpoint, the Lakers need to convince more than LeBron James to make that dream a reality. LeBron wants to win, and he can’t compete with the Golden State Warriors in L.A. without serious help, which is why you’re seeing a lot of people connecting the dots between Paul George and LeBron James joining forces on the Lakers this summer. It would take something substantial like that for the basketball part of this to make sense.