LeBron James’ Free Agency List Down To Four Teams?

LeBron James‘ list of potential free agent destinations for this summer is believed to only include four teams for now, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. In addition to the Cavaliers, sources tell O’Connor that James is expected to listen to pitches from the Lakers, Sixers and Rockets.

O’Connor’s tidbit comes in a larger story about the Spurs and whether James might consider San Antonio because the mutual admiration between him and coach Gregg Popovich.

James is considered certain to opt out of a $35.6MM salary for next season and enter free agency for the third time since returning to Cleveland. He said earlier this season that he will be seeking a full max contract, which will start at $35MM+ per season, wherever he decides to go.

The Lakers have been trying to clear cap room in anticipation of chasing James and another maximum-salary free agent. Their efforts included last month’s trade of Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. to Cleveland, taking more than $12.7MM off next year’s books.

The Sixers would have approximately $31MM available if they decline their options on Richaun Holmes and T.J. McConnell and renounce free agents J.J. Redick, Amir Johnson, Marco Belinelli, and Ersan Ilyasova.

The Rockets would require more maneuvering, with nearly $24MM available, but with Chris Paul and Trevor Ariza both heading toward unrestricted free agency and Clint Capela being restricted. A trade like last year’s Paul deal may be Houston’s best chance at landing LeBron.

The cap isn’t a concern in Cleveland with the Cavs’ owning Bird rights on James, but the luxury tax might be. However, owner Dan Gilbert has expressed a willingness to keep making hefty tax payments as long as James remains in town.

Cleveland will have the advantage of being able to offer James a longer contract (by one year), plus 8% annual raises while other teams are limited to 5%. However, money may not be the deciding factor in where he plays next season.

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53 thoughts on “LeBron James’ Free Agency List Down To Four Teams?

    • Dionis

      Lebron will dish the NBA and sign a 5 year deal with the Cleveland Browns.

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      • Itrainsontuesday

        He’s gonna break Cleveland’s heart twice as hard and sign with the Steelers.

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          • cleve1969

            A starting lineup of Aldridge, James, Leonard, Green & Murray would be nice …

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      • Thomas Swanson

        Gilbert and LeBron don’t talk any more. Gilbert says he won’t give LeBron another no trade clause and won’t let LeBron dictate to him. LeBron and his agent won’t talk until after the season.
        They need a mediator. would Dionis be willing to step in?

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  1. Chromimw

    This is the exact situation it was built for… #TrustTheProcess

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      • camdenyards46

        Why
        I guess it might hinder Simmons’ development, but we are talking about the second best player of all time

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        • WubbaLubbaDubDub

          I’m not a Lebron hater, but I think his best years are behind him. To add him, the Sixers would have to basically gut the roster and leave only Embiid and Simmons. I think you’re right that it would hurt Simmons’ development. And then when Lebron is gone or done in 3 years, we’ll be in worse shape than we are now.

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          • Regi Green

            As a 6er fan, id rather see us sign George. And signing him to a max deal would be scary because of his age,but he’d still put the team into chip contention immediately. Gotta think playing for championships would be good for the whole teams development.

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            • Thomas Swanson

              LeBron is difficult to play with, and difficult on management.

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              • camdenyards46

                I guess that’s all true. Lebron would mak the sixers into the cavs with players like JR and George Hill. I think it is a better idea to sign Paul George and avoid lebrons decline.

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                • WubbaLubbaDubDub

                  If we’re maxing someone, I agree that George would be a better fit than Lebron.

                  I’m just not sure if signing a max player at this point is the best way to keep the team competitive in the long run, as opposed to a rather short window.

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    • Luke Adams

      Yeah, the recently-signed buyout guys should’ve been listed in Booker’s place. I’ve updated that paragraph to fix it.

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  2. Connorsoxfan

    More likely that the Sixers would potentially pick up options on Holmes and McConnell, and potentially not renounce Belinelli and/or Ilyasova, and find a taker for Bayless instead, because those 4 guys could play key roles in the rotation. I’d have to think Lebron might sacrifice a couple million if it meant they could keep 4 more rotation pieces. I say a couple million only because if they kept those 4 it would be roughly 10 million in cap holds/hits I think, and Bayless makes 8 or 9 mil.

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    • Thomas Swanson

      Don’t forget Simmons, Lawawu-Cabaret, Reddick, and Saric will need to be signed along with the draft picks. That may be more money than the owner wants to spend.

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  3. Dionis

    Lebron will sign with the Nets and start a dynasty with Joe Harris.

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  4. madmanTX

    I can’t imagine LeBron adding to Houston’s lineup. It’s fricking scary…for the rest of the NBA.

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    • Thomas Swanson

      He wouldn’t. Like CP3, they’d have to trade several players (Gordon).

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      • camdenyards46

        Gordon’s not in the lineup anyway. But if they got rid of Ryan Andersen then they could sign lebron then use because rd rights on cp3 I think. So CP3, harden, James, someone, capela

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        • Thomas Swanson

          Nobody wants Anderson. They offered him to everyone in the league when they were trying to get Carmelo Anthony and nobody wanted him.
          After signing Capela and CP3, along with Harden, that’ll cost them $85 million. Add in $35 more for LeBron. They won’t have any money left. They have to offer Cleveland something they want, and I don’t think they have it.

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  5. Grant Humphrey

    I still think at the end of the day he stays in Cleveland, but if he decides to make a move I think it will be Miami.

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    • camdenyards46

      They have no cap whatsoever
      They are tied up in mid range salaries like JJohnson, Olynyk, Waiters, etc
      Those guys are all around 12 million

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  6. Lakers Lakers Lakers.
    The handwriting is on the wall, been there for a year. Bron plus one more George type and then bring the vet ring chasers, plus Ball Kuzma.

    Done.

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    • camdenyards46

      He is chasing Jordan’s rings, why would he go to the lakers

      I think sixers or cavs is most likely, but if Houston can get salary space then them number one

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  7. Miklo916

    He ain’t going anywhere. Unless I hear from him I don’t believe half gossip that goes on bout LeBron

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  8. joemoes

    Lebron loves making the finals. He’s not leaving the west. I’d argue it’s cleveland, philly, Miami in that order forbthisnhears free agency. Would shock me if Lebron asks for an opt out after 1 year 3 year and 5 year on the max contract

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    • Thomas Swanson

      LeBron isn’t writing his contract this year. Gilbert is!

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      • camdenyards46

        LeBron is writing his contract…Gilbert said he would make tax payments if lebron stayed

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        • Thomas Swanson

          You missed the article a couples weeks ago. Gilbert told the Cleveland Plain Dealer he doesn’t mind losing money. But he also said LeBron has dictated to him in the past and it won’t happen this time. It was all over the internet he said he will not give LeBron a no trade clause this time. Gilbert said this contract will be on his terms.
          Go back a couple weeks. It’s on here too. It was everywhere!

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          • Thomas Swanson

            The balls really in Gilbert’s court. He knows the Sixers and Rockets don’t have the money, and LeBron doesn’t want to go to a young team like the Lakers in a division with the GSW. That leaves the Cavs.

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  9. joemoes

    Staying in the easy east gives him the. Eat chance at winning. Go to the west how many finals do you make before your career is over 2-3?

    Philly makes the most sense because they remind me of golden state they drafted all these home grown guys. Simmons and embiid are going to be stars. They can carry Lebron. He can take days off.

    Cavaliers will keep Lebron if they use that pick to trade for someone. And who knows maybe Dan Gilbert says screw it Paul George tells okc he wants to go to Cleveland they do a sign and trade like Chris Paul did. What’s it matter at this point ? You’re paying so much in cap space might as well continue. And you grt to keep the first rounder.

    Miami Wade is the reason and they have some salary room. But Lebron probably knows playing with Wade isn’t wise for his career.

    The banana boat crew is never getting together, Carmelo and Wade would hold Chris Paul and Lebron back

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    • The Cleveland ship has sailed.

      If it’s not the Lakers, and it’s the Lakers, the most sense I’m hearing is the Sixers. That’s it.

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      • Of those four teams listed above, the Lakers would give him the worst chance at winning another title. They play in the same division as the Warriors and would still have to contend with GS, Houston, San Antonio, and maybe Minnesota and OKC just to make it out of the conference. Even if the Lakers were to add LeBron and convinced another superstar to head to LA, they would still be another year or two away from being a serious contender. Not to mention that one, if not both, of the Lakers’ young wings (Ingram and Kuzma) could potentially be blocked by LeBron and another star, which would stunt their growth and development.

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        • Great points, and logical. So where do you think he signs? It’s not Cleveland I can tell you that. It’s not Houston because then he’s chasing a ring like Durant and wasn’t that a bad thing two summers ago? So it’s the Sixers and the Lakers. Sixers make the most sense but I think he’d rather be in LA for different reasons. Maybe Carmelo comes too. He can still shoot the ball.

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          • camdenyards46

            If he is chasing a ring then he won’t care about public backlash. He already took his talents to south beach, why can’t he take them to the gulf coast?

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          • Thomas Swanson

            It’ll be Cleveland. Wade is 36, LeBron 33. This might be Lebron’s last big contract. He’ll go for money.
            Said on tv last night if LeBron wants another title he’ll have to leave Cleveland. Houston still has to sign Paul and Capela. They’d have to trade Gordon and others. Like OKC, they’d have no depth. He wouldn’t get max with Philly. They still need to sign Simmons and others. Like OKC and Houston, depth would be a concern. He wouldn’t get the title, and LeBron and LaVar would be fighting over who’s in charge in L.A.

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              • Thomas Swanson

                He is going to be available for his extension. Again it was on this site the Sixers need to sign Saric, Luwal-Cabaret, Reddick, and Simmons. the Sixers owner so far has only had to fork out cash for Embiid. So far he hasn’t shown signs of wanting to spend money.

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  10. beany_boy

    When I hear it from Lebrons mouth that’s when I’ll believe it.

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  11. x%sure

    Ka. Leonard is working hard to help his Spurs. I thought James might replace him there, but Leonard looks to be staying.
    Still mostly Cav odds. Gary can tell us why not.

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