The basketball player arrived just hours before NBA free agency opened with the three-time champion as its most coveted prize. That’s due in part to the simple fact that Paul also has other clients that will be in the free agent market.
Clearly, Cleveland did a horrendous job at building the necessary weapons around their beloved superstar to give them a better chance of winning the championship, and as a result, James appears to be exploring his best options. He would have made $35.6 million this upcoming season. A team source told SI that based on prior talks with San Antonio a package could involve forwards Dario Saric and Robert Covington plus a future first-round pick, although the Sixers initially buckled at the thought of losing both valued rotation players.
The Cavs can also offer him the most lucrative package, a five-year, $209 million contract. The four-time MVP’s max salary would be $152 million over four years if he signs with another team.
If he were to leave the Cavaliers, the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, and Philadelphia 76ers are reportedly the top three teams who might land James, according to The Ringer. With money and the reigns to the team as a non issue, the only pending factor is if the front office of the Lakers have already fumbled too many opportunities.
“Had LeBron opted in, that would have been a bad sign for Cleveland”, wrote McMenamin. Rockets GM Daryl Morey has shown enormous creativity in acquiring players before, but this move might be too complex even for him.
Last week, OddsShark tweeted that the Lakers were heavily favored to sign James at 4-13, while the Cavaliers are second at 13-4. Unfortunately for L.A., the Spurs hold all the bargaining power in any deal.
“It’s going to be a two-summer thing for the Lakers”, he told reporters Tuesday, referring to several all-star free agents being available next summer. The decision makes Young an unrestricted free agent.
James came back four years ago to a hero’s welcome, something that seemed unimaginable when he left in disgrace four years earlier for Miami. The center from Turkey will make $18.6 million in 2018-19.
No matter the final outcome, the LeBron sweepstakes will have consequences felt throughout the league.