In a sudden twist of events, Lebron James is opting out of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers and is becoming a free agent again. Will the King leave the Cavs for good?
Lebron and his team have confirmed over the weekend that the NBA star will be passing up his player option for next year and will instead try free agency again on July 1. He was expected to get $21.57 million next year had he continued his current contract with the Cavs, Cleveland.com noted.
This is the third time in six years that James became a free agent, headlining NBA trade talks.
While this news is nothing short of great for other NBA teams with hopes of signing the 11-time All Star, sources say Lebron is expected to re-sign with the Cavaliers. ESPN also notes that the player does not plant to meet with other teams. However, an ESPN source says it was LBJ’s intention “to stay somewhat removed from the Cavs’ free agency until other free agents are handled.”
Cleveland.com says the Forward is expected to receive a new contract of $22 million for next season. But the $400,000 add on is not James’ goal. By opting out of his current contract and then re-signing with the Cavaliers, he will get “a year’s protection should something bad happen to him physically this year,” noted the site.
Lebron is not the only player on the Cavaliers roster to become free agents this pre-season. The Eastern Conference champions has lost Kevin Love and JR Smith to free agency as unrestricted agents. It is expected that Love will stay with the Cavs, although Smith is still floating. GM David Griffin says the team will sign J.R. again “if it’s the right situation for us,” quotes another Cleveland.com report.
Tristan Thompson is also on the list as a restricted free agent. The player aims to receive $13 million per year after an impressive run with the Cavs last season, ESPN explains.