"None of this would have happened if LeBron James did not agree to come back home and lead the Cavaliers to the promised land. The entire Cavaliers franchise thanks LeBron for that precious moment and for all of the excitement he delivered as he led our team to four straight NBA Finals appearances.
"LeBron is a family man, first. We wish his kids, his wife Savannah, his mother Gloria, and LeBron himself nothing but the best in the years and decades ahead. LeBron’s connection to Akron, Cleveland and all of Northeast Ohio will most certainly endure as his commitment to the region and his support of many important causes has been impactful to so many kids and families.
"LeBron, you came home and delivered the ultimate goal. Nothing but appreciation and gratitude for everything you put into every moment you spent in a Cavaliers uniform. We look forward to the retirement of the famous #23 Cavs jersey one day down the line ..."
Update 8:25 p.m. EDT July 1: The management group representing LeBron James has indicated the NBA star will sign a four-year, $154 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Update 3:30 p.m. EDT June 30: LeBron James told the Cleveland Cavaliers he would not exercise his $35.6 million contract option next season, making him an unrestricted free agent.
NBA teams can begin negotiations with free agent players on Sunday.
By declining his option, James has positioned himself to choose where he’ll play next.
Cleveland remains a strong possibility, but the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia Sixers are also strong contenders for the NBA star, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Original story: NBA star LeBron James will reportedly be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
According to the NBA, ESPN and other outlets, James, 33, will decline his $35.6 million contract option for another season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
James has to make a final decision by 11:59 p.m. Friday, sources told the Associated Press.
The three-time champion is set to become one of the most coveted members of the NBA free-agent class.
He appears to be unshaken by the stress, posting a video of himself cliff jumping with his family on Instagram.
Teams can begin negotiation with free agents at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, according to NBA.com.
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James’ decision to decline the option for 2018-19 was anticipated by many, especially after Cleveland’s defeat to the Golden State Warriors in the 2018 NBA Championship game.
James has said family is a factor in his next choice -- as an Ohio native, there is still a chance he’ll sign with Cleveland.
Sources tell ESPN that Cleveland can offer James a better deal than any other team, with a five-year contract worth over $200 million.
Any other team can offer up to a four-year deal worth $152 million.
If James re-signs with Cleveland, he would earn $35.4 million in the 2018-19 season and would jump to $32.2 million in the option year.
He would also have the opportunity to explore free agency again in the summer of 2019.
James is also rumored to be considering the Los Angeles Lakers, ESPN reports.
James has some roots on the West Coast -- he owns a film production company and two homes in the Los Angeles area.