Keeping LeBron James Is Cleveland’s ‘Plan A, B, And C’ This Summer

For the next 36 hours or so, James is a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, but after word dropped on Friday morning that he would not opt into the final year of his contract, it became clear that the Cavs may be on borrowed time. Team personnel were unable to reach him that summer to consult him on what he wanted.

The Houston Rockets nearly certainly would have needed to acquire James in an opt-in-and-trade scenario. If James had opted in, he could have chosen to approach this summer like Chris Paul did a year ago, and essentially force his way onto a team through a trade.

James then carried the Cavs, with their flawed roster after a massive trading deadline turnover, through the Eastern Conference playoffs - they survived two Game 7s and swept the top-seeded Toronto Raptors - to the NBA Finals for a fourth straight meeting with the Golden State Warriors.

Among those choices, Philadelphia feels like a distant third. Whatever the case, Philly is firmly in the LeBron running, and they have the ability to bring in two stars to join Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. "It ended a drought for Cleveland of 50-plus years, so I think we'll all remember that in sports history".

Any team that acquires a player in a sign-and-trade gets "hard-capped" at $6 million more than the luxury tax, meaning the team's salary can not exceed that number.

There is a huge amount of excitement around the city of Los Angeles for the possibility that James could be headed to the Lakers.

What will LeBron James say to Cleveland if he leaves the Cavaliers again?

Ever mindful of his legacy, James is going to have to walk his local fans through why he's leaving them for a second time, after he told them repeatedly he wouldn't.

The decision by "The King" officially kicks off the hysteria about who he may play for next.

The Lakers are reportedly in heavy talks with the San Antonio Spurs to acquire Kawhi Leonard which would possibly guarantee that LeBron would take his talents out West and sign as well. Los Angeles is probably the favorite right now for reasons that have as much to do with his post-playing career as they do on-court things, but nothing should be considered set in stone.

The Cavaliers have an advantage over other teams in their pursuit of James: The NBA's collective bargaining agreement allows teams to pay their own free agents more money than other teams through the Larry Bird exception, named for the Boston Celtics legend.

  • Rosalie Stanley