Cleveland.com's Joe Vardon is reporting that James will not exercise his player option for next season, forgoing the remaining $35.6 million on his contract to instead have his pick of teams to sign with this summer. Houston would have to gut their roster to even make this possible and it's extremely unlikely any of the parties involved would be in favor of that.
LeBron James has until late Friday night to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but rumors surrounding his free agency got stronger on Thursday after Stephen A. Smith dropped a bombshell. The Thunder can offer him more money and George could get a five-year, $176 million and stay in Oklahoma. He knows a lot about the team and is a great reporter, but that doesn't mean he's James' best friend or that he knows what the National Basketball Association star is thinking at all times.
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.
"Well LeBron James reached out to Kevin Durant via text, from what I'm told, about coming to Los Angeles". Even for a cap wizard like Daryl Morey, unrestricted free agency makes signing James almost impossible.
No one really knows what he is thinking, but his family life and the players he will be playing alongside are likely the two biggest factors in his free agency conundrum. Once again, it leaves the Lakers looking pretty favorable to land at least two stars this summer. George, who is from Los Angeles and will be a free agent as he is expected not to opt-in to his option with the Thunder, seems like a more realistic possibility to play for the Lakers.
The bottomline: James' options are basically down to teams with cap space. Last season, the Cavaliers had to deal with Kyrie Irving forcing a trade, not unlike what Kawhi Leonard is doing with the San Antonio Spurs right now. They were a lot younger the last time I made a decision like this four years ago.