NBA Rumors: LeBron James Declines $35.6 Million Player Option, Becomes Unrestricted Free Agent
LeBron James, Lakers
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into the 2017-18 NBA season, LeBron James held a $35.6 million player option, giving him the possibility of leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers in free agency for a second time.

From the Kyrie Irving trade to the inconsistent play during the regular season, James somehow willed his team to the 2018 NBA Finals where they were swept by the Golden State Warriors. Despite the loss, James extended his streak of Finals appearances to an unprecedented nine straight years.

Despite keeping that stretch alive, the Cavaliers were severely overmatched and that further fueled speculation James would elect for free agency.

According to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, James will not exercise his $35.6 million player option for the 2018-19 season:

LeBron James will not exercise the $35.6 million option on his contract with the Cavaliers for next season and will be an unrestricted free agent on Sunday, multiple sources told cleveland.com.

As the Warriors have established themselves as the league’s next dynasty and the Cavaliers are very limited in how they can improve their talent level, the Los Angeles Lakers are among the teams that will pursue the 33-year-old.

Armed with two max-contract slots and a competitive young core, president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka are confident in their chances. If James ultimately leaves his hometown for the second time, Los Angeles has emerged as the favorite to land the four-time league MVP.

There was intrigue with James’ decision prior to the start of free agency. If he opted in, it likely signaled a sign-and-trade and a path for teams without cap space to pursue him like the Houston Rockets.

If he opted out, it presumably meant re-signing with the Cavaliers or signing with a team with cap space like the Lakers or Philadelphia 76ers was the likely course of action.

Now that James has taken the first step in his free agency, the Lakers are hoping to end their rebuilding process and become a perennial championship contender. If the future Hall of Famer signs, the likes of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard could eventually join him in Los Angeles and challenge Golden State.

Medium Large is looking to add motivated individuals with big dreams and a big appetite for success to our LakersNation.com direct sales team based in Los Angeles or Orange County. If you love sports, know digital sales, and can throw your weight behind an aggressive commission based opportunity than we would love to talk to you. Please apply at: http://mediumlarge.la/?jobs=1576. If you meet our criteria we will be in touch!

You May Also Like

One Lakers Coaching Staff Member On 2018 NBA Free Agency: ‘What The [Expletive] Are We Doing?’

After eight consecutive NBA Finals appearances, LeBron James signed a four-year, $154 million deal with the Los Angeles…

NBA Free Agent Rumors: Paul George’s Wife, Parents ‘Would Rather Him’ Sign With Lakers Than Thunder

The 2018 NBA Draft is days away and the Los Angeles Lakers will have another opportunity to add to the team’s young…

NBA Rumors: Board Of Governors Votes To Approve 22-Team Plan To Finish 2019-20 Season; Trail Blazers Against Proposal

The return of the NBA is just around the corner as the league proposed its official plan for finishing the 2019-20…

NBA Draft Rumors: Josh Jackson Cancels Workout With Boston Celtics

As the NBA Draft inches closer the rumor mill has been heating up, leaving many to wonder what’s real and what isn’t…