King James Free Agency Promises To Be History In The Making

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The greatest basketball player in the world could be on the move–again.

It was reported early Friday morning that LeBron James will opt-out of the last year of his contract, making him a free agent this offseason. This move is huge news as far as the teams reportedly courting James are concerned.

Reportedly, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers have been mentioned the most as teams that could make a strong case for James to join them. But the fact that he declined his player option means he is likely seeking a large max-contract (as he should) from whatever teams he goes to. This move effectively rules out Houston, who will have little salary cap space to sign a free agent. They have James Harden locked up on a long-term, big money deal, and guard Chris Paul and center Clint Capela figure to get significant deals as well. The only way for Houston to acquire James would’ve been in a sign-and-trade, meaning James would’ve opted-in to his contract, allowing the Rockets to trade a package of players that would equal the money that James makes.

So, now that James has become a free agent, we get a better idea of what he is thinking. There have been rumors that his son LeBron James Jr., is going to be attending Sierra Canyon High School near Los Angeles. And the addition of Magic Johnson to the Lakers front office has resulted to the team being linked to a number of big-time free agents.

Philadelphia no doubt has a strong pitch that will be centered around the large contract they can offer James, combined with their talented and young core of Joel Embiid and Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons.

But James has typically enjoyed playing with veterans rather than young players, no matter how talented they are. So, assuming he rules out Philly, this leaves only two teams who have been linked to James consistently. That would be the Lakers and James’s hometown Cavaliers. Of course the huge advantage that Cleveland has for them- besides being the home of most of LeBron’s and his wife’s family –is that they can offer him what would go down as the largest contract in NBA history. The contract would be a projected five-years, $205 million.

So that may be what the decision comes down to for James. Does he want to lock-up the largest payday of any NBA player ever? Or does he want to ride out the last stage of his career in the sunshine of L.A., hoping to bring glory back to the storied franchise?

NBA free agency officially starts on July 1, and all the dominoes are likely to fall into place around the league once James makes his decision. The world will literally be waiting.

 

By Michael Walton II @ZenMasterMike

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