The first domino has fallen to potentially lead LeBron James to Los Angeles.
The Cavaliers star opted out of the final year of his contract in Cleveland, effectively making him an unrestricted free agent. The news was first reported by Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, who states that LeBron has 'informed the Cavs he will not exercise his $35.6 million option.'
LeBron James’ agent informed the Cavs he will not exercise his $35.6 million option and thus will become an unrestricted free agent, sources told @clevelanddotcom ... Story coming— Joe Vardon (@joevardon) June 29, 2018
While the news is certainly positive for Lakers fans — and others pursuing James this summer — it does not in any way rule out a return to Cleveland. The Cavaliers still hold a significant financial edge over any other team from a max salary perspective.
James can of course still return to the Cavs, and for more money than any other team can pay him. The Cavs can give him a new five-year contract worth $207.4 million, based on a current projection of a $101 million salary cap in the NBA for next season. The most another team could offer is four years and $152.3 million.
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