Q: Besides James and George, who are other big-name free agents? The appeal of playing for one of the league's most storied teams is another allure. James is said to be looking for a place he could contend. The Lakers have a lot more avenues to chase (the Warriors) down. The Cavaliers can offer him a max deal of $205 million over five years ($41 million annually), while another team can max out at $152 million over four years ($38 million). Same thing with Paul George, who opted for free agency instead of the $20.7 million he was due in Oklahoma City next season, and Kevin Durant, with an option for $26.3 million in 2018-19.
While LeBron weighs his options in the Decision Cave, Brian Windhorst noted today that the 33-year old All-Star is "pretty focused on Los Angeles or Cleveland" and has turned down offers to meet with some other National Basketball Association teams, according to Bleacher Report's Ryan Cole. Many options for him are complicated, however, and it seems as if there's no flawless fit for him. He finished second to Houston Rockets guard James Harden in the MVP voting.
If the Lakers somehow fail to land any of those three players, their championship odds will quickly plummet. There are conflicting reports on whether James wants to wait to see what kind of roster the Lakers could construct before he would sign. Unfortunately for L.A., the Spurs hold all the bargaining power in any deal. James' agent, Rich Paul, informing the Cavs on Friday that he will not exercise his option and become a free agent was expected. They'd lose a few of their supporting pieces, but a trio of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Kawhi Leonard would be formidable.More news: Portugal through after dramatic Iran draw
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Therefore, they are hesitant to trade too much for the 27-year-old star. There are exceptions allowing teams to spend even if they are over the cap, or above the luxury tax line, but those are not big enough to afford a top-level player. James and Paul would have to work out discount shenanigans to make it work, which seems improbable. Carmelo Anthony could have gone that route, but chose to keep his contract, which plays him $27.9 million next season, intact.
No matter the final outcome, the LeBron sweepstakes will have consequences felt throughout the league.