At 9 p.m. PT on July 1, teams will finally be able to meet with free agents face to face. While many of those teams are hoping to land a meeting with the biggest name on the market, LeBron James, very few teams are expected to, not even the Cleveland Cavaliers.
According to a report by Dave McMenamin of ESPN, the Cavs aren’t scheduled to meet with the four-time league MVP early in the free agency process and it’s “unclear” if they plan to meet later on.
When NBA free agency officially opens up Sunday at 12:01 a.m. ET, the Cleveland Cavaliers will not meet in person with LeBron James or his representatives, sources told ESPN.
According to the report, James’ agent Rich Paul intends on doing all of his business over the phone this summer.
On Friday, Paul informed the Cavs that his client will not be picking up his player option for the 2018-19 season, worth $35.6 million. While that might sound like he’s ruled out a return to Cleveland, the organization is hopeful they can bring James back.
As it stands now, the Cavs believe they are still in the mix to retain the four-time MVP and can offer significantly more money -- $207 million over five years compared to $152 million over four years -- than the two other teams seen as the most likely suitors in the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers.
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.
James will have no shortage of options in free agency, but the growing belief is that it’s going to come down to Los Angeles or Cleveland for James. The latest rumblings have the Lakers favored in that scenario.
James will reportedly have his decision made before July 4. There have been no reports confirming the Lakers will meet with James and his camp before then, but it seems likely.
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