Cavs owner praises LeBron, promises to retire his jersey

Basketball: Free agent fireworks set to begin for NBA teams

Basketball: Free agent fireworks set to begin for NBA teams

LeBron James will become a free agent on July 1st, and after the Cleveland Cavaliers endured a dysfunctional season and were swept in the NBA Finals by the Golden State Warriors, many fans expect that James will bolt for greener pastures elsewhere. ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported this week that James would not be seeking elaborate pitch meetings during the free-agency process.

LeBron James officially began his free agency Friday, when he informed the Cavs he would opt out of his deal. James can also sign a short-term deal with Cleveland, something he has done each year since returning in 2014.

James has been linked to multiple teams in free agency, most notably the Los Angeles Lakers and 76ers.

According to ESPN, he could still fetch as much as US$207 million over five years from Cleveland, while other teams can offer a maximum US$152 million over four years. The 33-year-old had previously said he wanted to finish his career in OH, and although he's leaving again, Cavs fans are more forgiving after he ended the city's 52-year sport title drought in 2016.

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert didn't trash LeBron James on his way out of town this time. They'll get it with LeBron and his potential arrival would make them relevant for the first time in nearly seven seasons. Representatives from the team will meet today with James' agent Rich Paul in Los Angeles, a person familiar with the get together told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.

With all the speculation surrounding James' future, the Lakers have been pulling big moves in trying to make a trade for the Spurs' Kawhi Leonard, who told San Antonio he wants out of the franchise, with Los Angeles being his preferred destination.

Missing out on James would certainly be a crushing blow for the Sixers since fans have been dreaming about the possibility of him playing alongside Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, but at least the team would still have other options.

James would be the 12th, which means Cleveland will only be looking to fill two or three open roster spots as it is. An NFL team can sign a star quarterback and still fall short of making the playoffs because he cannot throw the ball to himself, and he won't be on the field to play defence.

In the post-season, the 14-time All Star averaged 34 points, 9.1 rebounds and nine assists, and was tipped to MVP by the Rockets' James Harden. That came after the King was spotted landing in Los Angeles.

Philadelphia would instantly vault from conference contender to favorite with James, who could make a strong run at his ninth straight Finals in Year One. The Sixers have shown a willingness to trade for Leonard without a promise that he'd re-sign with them in 2019, when he'd be able to opt out of his contract.

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