Will LeBron James “Defend the Land” for another season? Will he do “Whatever It Takes” to give the Cavaliers their second NBA championship? Those are some of the questions swirling around the league as the best basketball player on the planet is set to make another controversial decision this summer.
After being swept by the Golden State Warriors, most people expect LeBron James to leave his hometown team for the second time and chase another championship ring somewhere else. The 33-year-old small forward is yet to make an official statement regarding his free agency decision, but as of now, the Los Angeles Lakers have emerged as his top landing spot, with the Houston Rockets and the Philadephia 76ers as his other possible destinations.
However, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, the Cavaliers have a strong belief that they are still in the mix to sign James in free agency. Cleveland is the only team in the league who can offer James a five-year deal worth $207 million, while the Lakers, Rockets, and the Sixers can only give him a four-year, $152 million contract. When it comes to free agency, James is reportedly the Cavaliers’ “Plan A, B, and C.”
It’s not a surprise why James is Cleveland’s No. 1 priority this summer. The All-Star forward gave the Cavaliers their first NBA championship, and he’s the main reason why they were in the NBA Finals in the last four years. James’ free agency decision is expected to determine the path the Cavaliers will take this summer.
They are keeping all their assets available in case LeBron James re-signs with the Cavaliers. Kendrick Perkins is expected to fill the Cavaliers’ final roster spot to be used as a salary cap filler in case the team engages in a trade deal. Collin Sexton, who the Cavaliers selected as the No. 8 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, is yet to sign his rookie contract, giving Cleveland the ability to include him in a trade package to land another superstar who can play alongside James.
Unfortunately for Cavaliers fans, LeBron James reportedly has no plan to meet the Cavaliers in person when 2018 free agency officially starts. However, the Cavaliers will continue to have communication with James’ camp until he makes a decision.
“When NBA free agency officially opens at 12:01 a.m. ET Sunday, the Cleveland Cavaliers will not meet in person with LeBron James or his representatives, sources told ESPN. James’ camp and the Cavaliers’ front office have maintained a dialogue since the season ended, sources said.”
James was recently spotted in Los Angeles, heating up the speculation that he could sign with the Lakers. However, McMenamin doesn’t see it as a hint about his next controversial decision since James has an offseason home in Los Angeles.