Though he made an emotional return in 2014. So, the Heat would be in a really tough spot to add much to its roster after acquiring James in this scenario - while also giving up valuable assets to get him. Even that was a remote possibility. It would just be on a new contract, since James can make more money (and have more security) signing a fresh deal than he could if he had stayed in Cleveland on a one-year uncertainty.
The Lakers have the cap space to sign James immediately, and they could easily clear out enough room for Kawhi Leonard in a trade and/or Paul George in free agency. The ESPN personality announced on First Take that he received two phone calls from people telling him that James texted to Kevin Durant about playing in Los Angeles.
Of course, the move could also be simply seen as a way for James to protect himself and family members from unwanted intrusions by media outlets.
Thus, remaining in Cleveland or going to Los Angeles - where he owns a home - remain the two most likely options for James to pursue.
Fans in OH will now hold its breath as they prepare to experience their hometown star go through the free agency period again.
"I have no idea at this point", James said after the NBA Finals when asked if he's played his last game for the Cavaliers after getting swept by the Golden Warriors. Similarly, Pat Riley was reportedly frustrated with James in '14 when he seemed distant and disengaged during their conversation in Las Vegas at the start of free agency.
It's tough to deny Smith's description of Leonard's personality, as the star swingman has maintained a relatively low profile in his National Basketball Association career despite arguably being the league's best two-way player when healthy. Sources suggest that James' interest in joining the Lakers is strong.
Without the previous context that brought them here - the tanking, the heartless but ultimately correct trades, the patience in stockpiling prospects, the preservation of salary cap space - none of this is possible.
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