At 12:01 a.m. Sunday, James will be an unrestricted free agent, and agent Rich Paul is expected to contact several teams with the Lakers and Cavs atop his list. The four-time NBA Most Valuable Player had a player option for the 2018-19 NBA season, meaning that he could have chosen to "opt in" and play for the Cavaliers for $35.6 million, or "opt out" and hit the open market.
That could mean luring James and George, who has had his eye on the Lakers for some time now.
After starting his career with the Cavaliers in 2003, James famously spurned his hometown franchise in a televised announcement before the 2010 National Basketball Association season and signed with the Heat.
The first major free-agent domino fell Thursday as George decided not to exercise his $20.7 million option for next season with Oklahoma City, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
"James has a home in Los Angeles", Vardon wrote, "as do his chief business associates and the allure of playing for a historic franchise like the Lakers appeals to him". Leonard would be the legitimate No. 2 scorer and lockdown defender that could guard Kevin Durant, while Ball is exactly the type of playmaking point guard that James likes to play with. Cleveland has deep salary-cap issues - partially caused by James' failure to commit long-term - and the Cavs now lack enough talent to unseat the champion Golden State Warriors. The Lakers have the cap space to sign two max contract players and pair with their young roster. If the Lakers can close the deal in that meeting, they have a great chance of stealing LeBron James away from the Cavaliers. The team has gone 265-63 in his four seasons at the helm, making four trips to the NBA Finals and winning three titles. He could opt out and re-sign with Cleveland, although the strong current from national media is James appears ready to move again.
With reports, rumors, whispers, and buzz about James trying to team up with other superstars, no one is quite sure what's next for the NBA's best player.
Who knows what is real or fake right now?
James will factor family - he has three children, and his oldest son is a rising hoops star - into the choice of where he plays next.
James' decision to opt out of his contract seems to take the Houston Rockets off the table, as they would have major hurdles in signing him as a free agent while keeping their core together.
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Most notably, the upcoming installment of "Call of Duty: Black Ops" will feature the franchise's first take on battle royale. It's a particularly impressive number considering the game is free to play and has been out for about a year.
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His boat was not involved in Monday's incident off the coast of the Big Island, which seriously injured a woman in her 20s. It continues to spew lava, while two dozen other fissures that began opening up in early May remain inactive.