Cavs News: LeBron James Makes Official Decision on Free-Agency Status

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In what was undoubtedly one of the least surprising announcements of the NBA offseason, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James officially informed the team that he will be opting out of the final year of his contract. That makes him a free agent who can sign with any team in the league, though his list of possible destinations most likely consists of just a handful of teams.

Over the past year, it was a given that James would enter the free-agent market, even though he never publicly spoke about his intentions. Throughout this lengthy period, he’s given no indication that he plans on leaving the Cavaliers again. At the same time, though, he’s also offered no hints that he will stay with his hometown team.

The Los Angeles Lakers have have been among most prominently mentioned teams that could entice James to leave. The reasons stem from the fact that he already owns two mansions in the Los Angeles area and because they have the salary-cap space to sign both him and another prime free agent, such as Oklahoma City’s Paul George. The Lakers have also been the source of many rumors involving a possible acquisition of disgruntled San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard.

Other teams that have been mentioned include the Houston Rockets, who had the NBA’s best regular-season record with James’ close friend, guard Chris Paul, on the roster. Also, the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics possess the young talent that can challenge for an NBA championship. Finally, James’ former team, the Miami Heat, are seen as a long shot to sign him.

With regard to the Cavaliers, they allow James to remain in the area where he grew up. Still, if he believes the team isn’t making an effort to win an NBA title through their roster decisions, he’ll most likely look elsewhere. Since he returned to the team in 2014, they’ve reached the NBA Finals each year and won the 2016 title.

In 2010, James made his “Decision” to head to Miami on July 8, while his return to Cleveland four years later came under much quieter circumstances on July 11. Some speculation has hinted that his 2018 choice will come before the July 4 holiday, but until James makes his selection, no one knows for sure.

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Brad Sullivan is a lead writer for Cavaliers Nation. He has spent much of life in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and has remained a Cavalier fan from their 1970 beginnings through the return of LeBron James. While that fandom was sorely tested during the Reign of Error known simply by one word, Stepien, that overall historical perspective will be part of his writing for Cavaliers Nation in the months ahead.