LeBron James Declines Cavs’ Option, Already Texting Kevin Durant About Joining Forces in LA
NBA free agency is almost here, and it’s already getting wild.
It’s official, LeBron James is a free agent.
The best basketball player in the world opted out of his remaining contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday, surprising no one.
But what LeBron will do next remains a mystery. Will he return to the Cavs? Sign with the Lakers, Celtics or Rockets? Give up basketball for acting? We’ll get an answer in the next few months, but for now all we have are rumors, reports and innuendo.
The most compelling and surprise nugget came this week from Stephen A. Smith, who titillated the basketball world when he said LeBron “reached out” to Kevin Durant “about coming to Los Angeles.” Smith added that Durant’s reaction was, “Why would I think about doing something like that?”
I'm being told LeBron James texted Kevin Durant about coming to LA. pic.twitter.com/jJyeOOSgxN
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) June 28, 2018
Smith said that Durant, widely considered the second best basketball player in the world, won’t be teaming up with LeBron with the Lakers. And others have said that LeBron never even reached out to Durant. But the Warriors superstar is not the only top 10 NBA talent who might go to L.A. to be LeBron’s sidekick.
Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard has reportedly pitched LeBron about teaming up. According to Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports, Leonard has tried to sell LeBron on his “lockdown defensive ability,” which would give LeBron more room to rack up points in the final seasons of his career.
A source close to #LeBron tells me that #Kawhi Leonard reached out to James, telling him he very much wanted to play together. They spoke about Kawhi's lockdown defensive ability, which would alleviate pressure off of LeBron.
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) June 28, 2018
While Schultz’s report doesn’t mention the Lakers, it’s widely believe that Leonard, a Southern California native, is trying to engineer a move out west before the final year of his contract with the Spurs. The latest rumors suggest that the two teams are moving toward a deal involving some of the Lakers’ young talented core and future draft picks. One player who is reportedly not on the Spurts wish list: Lonzo Ball.
Paul George is the other All-Star who’s been heavily linked to the Lakers and LeBron’s potential journey out west. In the most recent episode of his ESPN series, “Paul George: My Journey,” the OKC Thunder guard opened up about his desire to wear purple and gold, along with his chemistry with teammate Russell Westbrook.
“In a way, it’s like, I want to come here, I want to play for the home team and put a Laker jersey on,” George said. “That’s always gonna be something that I want to fulfill. But at the same time, it’s like, what’s the best move, though? I know who I am as a player. I just want to help the team win. And I feel comfortable doing so with Russ (Westbrook).”
Free agency begins at 12:01 a.m. ET Sunday. Buckle up basketball fans.