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29th Jun 2018

Major development in LeBron James’ NBA future

Jack O'Toole

Four-time NBA MVP LeBron James may be set to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time in his career after he reportedly declined his $35.6 million option, and thus will become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

James, who resigned with the Cavaliers in 2014 after four years with the Miami Heat, has brought the Cavaliers to four consecutive finals where he has won one championship.

The Cavaliers were swept in this year’s NBA finals by the defending champion Golden State Warriors and according to ESPN NBA insider Stephen A. Smith, James has reached out to Warriors All-Star Kevin Durant about linking up with the Los Angeles Lakers next season.

Free agency officially begins on Sunday and James will attract interest from every team that can fit him under their salary cap.

80 percent of NBA teams are expected to be over the cap next season with the Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers, Lakers and Cavaliers the primary frontrunners to sign the three-time NBA champion.

However, while he has reportedly declined his option, he also opted out of his contract with the Cavs in 2015 to sign a new “one-plus-one” deal, and then opted out of his contract again in 2016 to sign a new deal with two years guaranteed and a player option for the third year.

According to ESPN front-office insider Bobby Marks, Cleveland can offer James a more lucrative deal than any other team — a five-year max contract in the neighborhood of $207 million. Any other suitor can offer a four-year pact worth $152 million.