The Heat remain the “primary consideration” for LeBron James, but the alternative that intrigues him the most is signing with the Clippers, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Still, the Heat are privately insisting that they won’t cooperate with any sign-and-trade that would send their star elsewhere, Wojnarowski hears, and the capped-out Clippers would have to make several deals to clear the room to sign James outright. The only way the Heat would send away James in a sign-and-trade is if they fear they would lose him to a team that can sign him on its own, Wojnarowski writes.
Other teams are preparing to clear room for both James and Carmelo Anthony, both of whom are set to hit free agency next month after opting out of their deals. James can make a maximum of at least $20,020,875 next season, which is 105% of his salary from this past season, and he could make more if the NBA’s maximum salary rises above that figure. Still, he seems to be prioritizing the chance to win over making the most money.
The Clippers have seemingly been on the radar for James since February, when Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com wrote that they were “perhaps the most serious competitor” that the Heat have for the four-time MVP. Chris Paul is a friend of James, and playing for coach/executive Doc Rivers also looms as an attractive scenario, as Wojnarowski points out.