CLEVELAND - Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman spoke to both LeBron James and his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, over the phone when National Basketball Association free agency officially opened at 12:01 a.m. ET Sunday, sources told ESPN.
At this stage in his career, James wants to be part of a strong contender with the best chance of overtaking the Golden State Warriors since the current champions aren't going away anytime soon. The Cavaliers are the only team that can offer James such a deal, and should he decide to leave, he would be leaving $53 million on the table.
The decision to decline the option for 2018-19 was expected by James because it gives him more options, which includes him re-signing with the Cavs, who can offer him the most money - a five-year, $209 million contract.
This past week, the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook pulled title futures off the board in order to wait out James' free agency decision (and possibly a Kawhi Leonard trade).
LeBron is not meeting in person with the Cavaliers to start free agency, reports Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
A source familiar with the Cavs' thinking said re-signing James is Cleveland's "Plan A, B and C" when it comes to free agency.
LeBron opted out of the final year of his contract Friday, making him an unrestricted free agent.
But the fans at r/NBA will likely be keeping an eye on the plane that (likely) brought LeBron James to Los Angeles to see if there are any stops in Houston, Philadelphia, or Cleveland.
The NBA free agent period begins Sunday.
Much like the Lakers, the Sixers lack postseason experience and James would be surrounded by players who have barely tasted the postseason. But if James chooses, he can essentially pick any team and make it happen.
The 33-year-old averaged 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 9.1 assists and 1.4 steals and shot 54.2 percent from the field this past season.