BOSTON -- The last time LeBron James left Cleveland, there were fans that burned his jersey in effigy. While the sentiments aren’t likely to be so strong, the Cavaliers are once again bracing themselves for James’ departure.
The perennial All-Star today declined a player option that would have paid him $35.6 million for this upcoming season and became a free agent again. While there’s still a chance that the Cavs can re-sign him, all indications are that James will once again be taking his talents elsewhere.
No team has been positioning itself to land James more than the Los Angeles Lakers, who could potentially create enough salary cap space to sign James as well as another high-priced player like Paul George, who has been on the Lakers’ radar since George indicated he wanted to play for them and asked to be traded from the Pacers.
George was traded to Oklahoma City, and while the Lakers remain a strong contender for his services, George is also giving serious thought to re-upping with the Thunder as well.
As for James, his likely departure will certainly have a rippling effect throughout the NBA landscape with teams waiting to see what he does before beginning to take care of their own offseason business.
In addition to the Lakers, Philadelphia and Houston are also considered strong contenders for James’ services.