2018 Free Agency

Report: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers will not meet in person when free agency period opens

From NBA media reports

When the free agency period begins on Sunday morning, LeBron James or any of his representatives will not have an in-person meeting with Cleveland Cavaliers officials, according to a report by ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

James’ camp and the Cavs front office has been in regular dialogue since the season ended, sources said, and James’ agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, informed the Cavs on Friday morning that the four-time MVP would not be opting in to the final year of his contract with Cleveland worth $35.6 million.

According to the report, it is unclear that the two sides have set up a meeting. It was reported earlier in the week that James does not want any extravagant pitches made for his services.

The decision to decline the option for 2018-19 was expected by James because it gives him more options, which includes him re-signing with the Cavs, who can offer him a five-year, $209 million contract. James can also sign a short-term deal with Cleveland, something he has done each year since returning in 2014.

Had James opted in on Friday, the Cavaliers’ brass would have considered that a bad sign, as they believed that his biggest motivation to do so would be in order to accommodate a trade to another team that didn’t have the cap space to sign him outright, such as the Houston Rockets.

By declining his option, James positioned himself to be able to choose where he’ll play next and Cleveland, his basketball home for 11 of the past 15 seasons, remains a strong possibility. But there are at least three other teams – and maybe an outsider or two – with legitimate shots at landing the three-time MVP, who made it clear following this year’s NBA Finals that he’s still driven to win championships.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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