LeBron speaks with Cavs as free agency opens

LeBron speaks with Cavs as free agency opens

James told the Cavaliers that he is not exercising his $35.6 million USA contract option for next season and will become an unrestricted free agent, two people familiar with the decision told the Associated Press on Friday.

The meeting with the 76ers was first reported by ESPN. They're now linked like never before and if James wants to prepare for his eventual life after basketball, who better to learn from than Johnson, who has made a fortune as a business entrepreneur, or Bryant, an Academy Award victor. He informed the Cavs from Anguilla Friday that he is opting out of the a year ago of his contract.

The four-time MVP may still sign with Cleveland but the echoes are growing louder that James will create another superteam by joining either the Houston Rockets, the LA Lakers or the Philadelphia 76ers. James can also sign a short-term deal with Cleveland, something he has done each year since returning in 2014. But the Lakers will instantly rise with James, a three-time champion who after being swept by the Warriors in this year's NBA Finals said he is still driven and very much in "championship mode".

James' camp and the Cavaliers have been in regular dialogue since the season ended.

All three of those players will have designs on a title next season.

James just flew back to Los Angeles from a family vacation in the Caribbean - fuelling talk the LA Lakers are the frontrunners to secure his services. Coming off one of the best seasons of his career, James is one of the most sought-after free agents in the league's history.

This could be the last big free agent contract of his career.

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If James stays and takes the supermax, he'll match Russell Westbrook's deal with the Thunder and have one of the top salaries in the National Basketball Association next season.

Only about four hours until James can be free to make a decision.

Cleveland insider Dave McMenamin revealed James had spoken to Cavs GM Koby Altman by phone at 12.01am this morning while AP reporter Tom Withers claimed the four-time MVP would make a speedy decision within the next couple of days.

Sources says the Sixers are not out of James' free agency hunt. Hoops Hype described some of the issues Los Angeles needs to address if James signs with the team.

Per Vardon, a source close to James said James would not be involved in any of these initial meetings with teams.

At this stage of his career, James revealed family will be a huge factor in determining if he will re-sign with the Cavaliers or leave his hometown for the second time. The last time he was a free agent was in 2014, when he made a decision to return to the city of OH and play for the Cavs.

Now that some of the early dust has settled, the battle for him appears to be down to two teams: Cleveland vs. Los Angeles.

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