Storyline: LeBron James Free Agency

160 rumors in this storyline

Trying to persuade James to stay home won’t be easy. Altman is also handcuffed by the mammoth payroll that won’t budge enough for a marquee free agent even if Thomas bolts. Even so, with James, Thomas and Love, the deep Cavaliers still have a roster capable of advancing to a fourth-straight NBA Finals and possibly winning. It will be tougher with Irving joining forces with All-Star forward Hayward, forwards Al Horford and budding star Jaylen Brown, and heralded rookie Jayson Tatum. But Boston will desperately need to be one of the NBA’s best scoring teams after losing some defensive standouts in Crowder, center Amir Johnson and more notably Avery Bradley.

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Bron was leaving Coral Tree Cafe in Brentwood on Sunday when we asked about the prediction Griffin made on the “View From the Cheap Seats” podcast … that LeBron will leave Cleveland for the Knicks. “Honestly, I don’t see him coming to L.A. period,” Griffin said … “I could see him going to New York before L.A.” So, how did Bron feel about that? “I don’t even know what you’re talking about, shawty,” LeBron told our female photog … right before hopping into his clean white Porsche.

Clippers forward Blake Griffin explained his contrarian theory on the View From The Cheap Seats podcast, saying he thinks James’ side has something “brewing” but it isn’t a plan to play in Los Angeles as many suspect. “I could see [LeBron] going to New York before L.A. I still think, when you go to the Garden, it’s a completely different feeling,” Griffin said. “The energy, there seems like there’s just a consistent buzz the entire game. … Even last year when you go play them, it’s still there.”

The dramatic Cleveland Cavaliers offseason has basically put the entire team’s future into question. Kyrie Irving wants to leave. LeBron James will be a free agent after this season, and some fans already think LeBron’s time in Cleveland is nearing an end. Kevin Durant and rapper Lil Dicky, who once featured KD in a music video, discussed just that on Wednesday.

It seems that NBA players are starting to believe the hype, with veteran Matt Barnes making his case during an appearance on ‘The Herd, With Colin Cowherd’. During the interview, Barnes suggested that the Lakers could be the ideal fit for James, in order to get a chance to work with Johnson on his post-playing career: No better place. Yeah, no question. I think with him, he bought a big old house out in Brentwood. LA is the place to be. I heard he wants to be in management after and I think no better person in the game to help model and shape him than Magic Johnson.

James can also be a free agent next summer, should he opt out of his contract. Sources close to James say he does not know what he will do after this season. “LeBron remains deeply committed to this organization,” Altman said. “He remains deeply committed to this team and deeply committed to this city. He has deep roots to this city. And it means a lot to him to be here and compete for championships for years to come. That’s his goal, and so we have shared goals.”
4 weeks ago via ESPN

Billups didn’t speak with James until after he decided to turn down the job and James’ plans for 2018 when he can become a free agent didn’t directly factor into the decision. “The whole LeBron leaving the next year, to be honest that didn’t bother me that much,” Billups said. “Here’s why: when you have an opportunity to really put something together and put your imprint on it — rebuilding is a beautiful thing if the (owner) is going to have the patience with you. What bothered me more than if LeBron left or not was I didn’t think they had great assets if you have to do a rebuild. It was more that than Bron. Bron and I have always had an amazing relationship.”
4 weeks ago via ESPN

They are acting as if they intend to. Cleveland is seeking a bundle of assets, but the highest priority right now is snagging a blue-chip young player, according to sources across the league. That is not necessarily a signal they think James is leaving. They would like to get everything: one or two veterans who can help LeBron dethrone Golden State, that blue-chipper, and picks. They want to prepare for a worst-case scenario of LeBron leaving without shoving him out the door by acquiring players he deems unready. Even so, the blue-chipper appears to be their guidepost, sources say.

Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving took a moment during Tuesday night’s Fashionable 50 event by Sports Illustrated in Los Angeles to acknowledge the rumors swirling about his team. SI’s Maggie Gray asked Irving, “How different could the Cavaliers team look in just a couple years” considering the latest rumors regarding LeBron James’ leaving to join the Los Angeles Lakers after his contract is up in 2018. Irving could be a free agent after the 2018-19 season. “Like I said, we’re in a peculiar place,” Irving said. “The best thing we can do is handle things with class and professionalism. Obviously we have a great owner that’s willing to spend a little money on guys that he believes in. At this point, we just see what happens throughout the summer.”

That said, there exists a healthy amount of skepticism that James will be willing to play for a team that, even with his addition, doesn’t seem like it will be capable of competing on a level playing field with the Golden State Warriors. Thus, making that move would end his consecutive NBA Finals streak end at eight — assuming, as the entire league suspects, his Cavaliers will make it back there again next June. This is why some could see James hanging on for at least another year in Cleveland to better survey what’s out there if he did decide to leave the Cavaliers.

Add in the fact that Griffin and the Cavaliers parted ways only three days before the draft, with Griffin engaged in ongoing talks with the Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls about possibly landing stars such as like Paul George and Jimmy Butler, and it’s safe to say that Gilbert is giving James every reason to let his eyes wander these days. The familiar dysfunction is enough to breathe life into all the possibilities that surround James elsewhere, chief among them the notion that he might take his talents to Manhattan Beach to play for the purple and gold next July.

As if Ball’s play wasn’t enough, or all those Lakers fans in attendance who spent the night screaming for James to come their way next summer or the fun fact that James himself was wearing a purple tie-dyed shirt, there was the sneaker subplot that made it even more compelling. As has been well-chronicled, Ball and his outspoken father, LaVar, are trying to buck the basketball shoe system by way of their Big Baller Brand. Rather than sign with the titans of industry, such as James’ Nike brand or Adidas or Under Armour, they have been going their own way by making their own shoes and apparel with the hopes of landing a massive payday down the line.
1 month ago via ESPN

When Ball made his summer league debut Friday, his father LaVar Ball said that if the Lakers ever managed to team up James with his son, they would win a championship together. James can opt out of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers next summer. “Heck yeah!” LaVar Ball told ESPN. “Lonzo and LeBron? Come on man! That’s real deal. You don’t want to give him the best player in the world. You don’t want to give Lonzo the best player in the world and don’t get no championship? Shoot.”

But that’s only the beginning. Simmons sees a much bigger picture that could come together. “What if I told you that 12 months from now, LeBron James, Paul George, John Wall, and Boogie Cousins will all be on the Los Angeles Lakers together?” he says. “Conspiracy Bill has some things that he doesn’t like about what’s going on. I think the LeBron James–[to]-L.A. [story], he hasn’t come out and denied it. Everyone’s talking about it in the league, it became public last month. He knows they’re talking about it and hasn’t said anything. Hasn’t said, ‘This is ridiculous. I’m so tired of hearing this. I want to finish my career in Cleveland.’”

But even with LeBron-to-Los Angeles (Clippers or Lakers) rumors swirling, that plan might not even get off the ground. Mike Wise of The Undefeated on Freddie and Fritz: I’m going to give you something on this show, and this is breaking news. Nobody else is going to have it. I got from a very good authority – a very good authority – that LeBron James will never be a Clipper. I can’t tell you who, but I’m going to tell you it’s somebody that knows, and LeBron James will never be a Clipper. I don’t know if that’s because he remembers what the Clippers used to be, or he just doesn’t want to put his lot in there, or he thinks Steve Ballmer is just too animated on the sideline. He’s never going to be a Clipper. I’m just telling people right now, for your edification. I’m breaking this on the Freddie Coleman and Fitz show.

But what about the Cavs? There is a big-picture implication to Griffin’s departure, and it involves James, who can become a free agent following the 2017-18 season. This puts James’ long-term plans in Cleveland in jeopardy, especially if the Cavs don’t win the title next year. It is not out of the question that James leaves Cleveland again if he doesn’t believe a championship is possible in the short term. There was no guarantee James would stay with Griffin as GM, but the new executive has plenty of work to do – namely improving the roster – and just short time to do it.

Brian Windhorst: “If you’re gonna attract LeBron James next summer or if you’re gonna keep LeBron James if you’re the Cavs, you have to have the ability to say you can beat the Golden State Warriors. Right now, Los Angeles Lakers or Los Angeles Clippers can’t even begin to say that. The team with the best chances are the Cleveland Cavaliers. If they stay in that position, they’ll have a good chance to keep LeBron for the rest of his career.”
8 months ago via ESPN

The new deal, which still must be ratified by the owners and players’ union, alters the “over-36 rule” to the “over-38” rule. Previously, teams could not sign players to four- or five-year contracts if the player turned 36 before Oct. 1 of one of the years of the deal. By moving the rule back two years, James is in position to sign a five-year contract in 2018 when he is 33 years old, sources told ESPN. James’ health, the overall player market and other factors make it impossible to know what he might sign for in 2018, but projections show he could sign for up to $210 million if he stays with the Cleveland Cavaliers and signs for five years at the maximum number. Before the rule change, he would have been able to sign for only three years and an estimated $90-100 million less at age 33.

Now, the next big-time free agent the Cavs will have to try and re-sign is James, who, if history repeats itself, will opt out of his contract in the summer of 2018. So much can happen between now and then, but right now James has his favorite pro coach in Lue, a wingmate in Irving whom he’s said will be MVP one day, and teammates under contract for years who are either represented by his agent (Rich Paul), or were brought to Cleveland at his urging, or both.

“We are very fortunate to have a championship group together,” said Griffin. “One that has grown organically to trust, and sacrifice for one another – on and off the floor. At the core of that group is LeBron. His leadership, passion and tireless commitment are the hallmarks of our success and have inspired our entire franchise. His connection and dedication to his community and this fan base are absolute. We share his determination to win at the highest level and can’t wait to get back to work, together to defend our title.”

“”I just want to let y’all know I’m re-signing back with the Cleveland Cavaliers, my hometown team,” James said on Uninterrupted, his Internet and social-media video platform for athletes. “I can’t be more excited than this opportunity once again, man, to defend our crown, defend our title. We all know last year as a magical, inspiring– all the words you can come up with– it was an unbelievable season. I just can’t wait to get the group back together– the team, the franchise, more importantly, get everybody together, the fans.

Rick Noland: LeBron James on Uninterrupted: “I can’t be more excited for this opportunity, once again, man, to defend our crown, defend our title. We all know last year as a magical, inspiring— all the words you can come up with— it was an unbelievable season. I just can’t wait to get the group back together— the team, the franchise. More importantly, get everybody together, the fans. Without you guys, without your passion and commitment, we wouldn’t have been able to do what we did this past season. I’m ecstatic.I can’t wait to see my guys. I can’t wait to get back out there in the wine and gold and just get the band back together.

James, the MVP of the 2016 Finals, could sign a two-year contract worth $56.3 million in July and opt out next season when he could sign a long-term deal with full Bird rights when the salary cap is projected to jump from $94 million in 2016-17 to $107 million in 2017-18. However, if James took that route, he is not able – under the current collective bargaining agreement – to a sign a five-year deal worth $200 million in the summer of 2017, three league executives told USA TODAY Sports. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the free agency period hasn’t started.
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August 23, 2017 | 11:37 am EDT Update

Hornets add Julyan Stone

Charlotte Hornets General Manager Rich Cho announced today that the team has signed guard Julyan Stone. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. Stone (6-6, 200) has appeared in 47 career NBA games (two starts) over three seasons with Denver (2011-13) and Toronto (2013-14), averaging 1.3 points, 1.1 assists and 1.0 rebounds in 7.0 minutes per contest. He most recently joins Charlotte after a stint with Reyer Venezia Mestre of the Lega Basket Serie A in Italy, appearing in 26 games and helping the squad to a 2017 Serie A Championship. Prior to his time with Reyer Venezia Mestre, Stone played with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA G League last season, seeing action in 33 games (31 starts), averaging 7.9 points, 8.6 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 34.7 minutes per contest.
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But questions remain about Thomas, who was hobbled by a serious hip injury during the most recent playoffs and is still set to undergo tests before training camp to establish his status. What’s more, the fact that he infamously called for the Celtics to “Back up the Brink’s truck” next summer when he’s eligible for a huge payday means Cleveland will have to eventually find clarity on this front. For James’ part, he’s on record as a huge fan of Thomas. “(The Celtics) got a clear-cut star and that’s Isaiah,” James said in late December. “The notion that they don’t have a star I think is ‘fugazi’ as Donnie Brasco would say. Earlier I was watching the movie. So, they’re a good team for a reason and it starts with the head of the snake and that’s Isaiah.”
Storyline: Isaiah Thomas Free Agency
With the Big3 championship game slated for Saturday in Las Vegas, the league and Fox Sports announced on Wednesday an agreement to extend the 3-on-3 basketball league and its coverage into another season following a successful inaugural campaign. “We think we have something great with the Big3 and are thrilled to add another year to our partnership,” Fox Sports head of business operations David Nathanson said in a statement.