LeBron James is doing it to Cleveland again. The NBA's best player is making the city sweat it out while he makes a decision on where he'll play next season.
Over the weekend, ESPN reported that King James will bypass his $21.6 million player option with the Cleveland Cavaliers and become a free agent on July 1. Although this time — unlike the July 8, 2010 decision that had him leaving Cleveland for the Miami Heat — LeBron's re-signing with the Cavs figures to be a formality.
Although this marks the third time in the past six years that James will be an unrestricted free agent, ESPN is reporting that he doesn't plan on meeting with any teams and will re-sign with Cleveland. Cavs general manager David Griffin told ESPN that James has been "very engaged" about the team's roster, which is another promising sign that the four-time NBA MVP and two-time champion will remain with the franchise.
However, it's very possible that James won't re-sign with the team until it handles the contracts of fellow free agents Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love. Thompson is represented by James's agent Rich Paul and, after averaging 9.6 points and 10.8 rebounds per game during the postseason, he figures to make more than $13 million per season. The team is expected to extend his contract.
The Cavs also figure to offer Love a long-term contract and the power forward has said he wants to come back to the team as well. That's not going to stop other teams from trying to land Love, as a report surfaced last week with the Houston Rockets ready to vie for his services.
Without Kyrie Irving and Love, who were both injured, James and the Cavs fell to the Golden State Warriors in six games during the NBA Finals earlier this month.
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(Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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