Latest posts by Sam Amico (see all)
- Follow Amico’s Cavaliers and NBA coverage on SI.com - October 30, 2019
- Love reiterates he is all in with Cavaliers - November 20, 2019
- Cavaliers forward Love? Trade rumors? He’s heard them all - November 20, 2019
As expected, LeBron James has declined the player option in his contract and will become an unrestricted free agent, his agent informed the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, league sources told Amico Hoops.
James had until 11:59 p.m. Friday to make the Cavs aware of whether he would exercise the option.
The decision to opt out means James is free to sign with another team, with the Cavs due no compensation. But it also means he can re-sign with the Cavs for more money than any other team can pay him — five years and a little more than $207 million.
If James were to sign elsewhere, the maximum he could received would be four years and $152 million, or just about $50 million less than the Cavs could pay him.
Still, there are rumors James may be looking to again leave the Cavs, as he did in 2010 for the Miami Heat. This time, Los Angeles is the most-cited potential destination other than Cleveland, with legendary team president Magic Johnson and the Lakers supposedly high on James’ list.
Sources told Amico Hoops on Friday that security cameras were being set up in front of James’ Los Angeles home that would allow police in Akron, Ohio, to also monitor that home.
It is a move to offer extra security, and according to one Akron police officer, James left for Miami the last time such a strategy was implemented.
James has never before declined the option in his contract, but that means little in terms of trying to determine where he may end up next.
The Cavs remain confident they are in the mix, and believe they may even be the frontrunners for James, sources told Amico Hoops earlier this week. They have appeared in the Finals four straight times, winning the championship in 2016.
Overall, James has appeared in the Finals eight straight times.
The Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers are other teams trying to lure James, though neither are considered as big of threats as the Lakers, who could potentially land another star (such as Oklahoma City Thuner forward Paul George) and have a strong tradition and the glitz of Hollywood.
James, 33, averaged 27.5 points in playing all 82 regular-season games last season. He set a career high with an average of 9.1 assists, and tied a career high with 8.6 rebounds per game. His scoring average increased to 34.0 points in the postseason.