LeBron James does not want to sit through elaborate pitch meetings for this free agency. More than that, he has let his agent Rich Paul and the rest of his team handle dealings with teams (although LeBron himself has reached out to players he wants to team up with — player-to-player is not tampering under the NBA’s rules).
That said, LeBron is expected to have some conversations — likely in person — not long after July 1 with whatever team he is going to sign with. The Lakers remain at the front of that line.
LeBron is not meeting in person with the Cavaliers to start free agency, reports Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
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.
James’ camp and the Cavs front office has been in regular dialogue since the season ended, sources said, and James’ agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, informed the Cavs on Friday morning that the four-time MVP would not be opting in to the final year of his contract with Cleveland worth $35.6 million.
Paul, who represents several other players entering into free agency — Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Nerlens Noel among them — will conduct all his business over the phone when free agency begins, sources told ESPN.
What does this mean? Nothing we didn’t already know, it’s just a confirmation.
Cleveland is LeBron’s fallback option. He’s trying to get to the Los Angeles Lakers, ideally with another star or two in tow (LeBron is not afraid to be first to sign, but he doesn’t want to be alone, according to sources). Philadelphia is not entirely out of the picture. If nothing else quite works, LeBron may return to Cleveland and he can meet with them then.
The first days of free agency are about his preferred choice and if that can be worked out.