NBA rumors: LeBron James to become a free agent - Sports Illustrated

NBA rumors: Latest off-season news on free agency, trades, more

LeBron James is officially a free agent after declining his player option, while the Warriors are developing a backup plan in case they can’t sign Kevin Durant.
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With free agency officially beginning on Friday, teams have turned their off-season focus to landing meetings with the most talented available players.

The big question of the moment is where Kevin Durant will play next season. The Washington Wizards have reportedly fallen out of contention to land their hometown star, while the Heat, Thunder and Warriors reportedly have the best chances of acquiring the former NBA MVP if he leaves Oklahoma City. Carmelo Anthony is also recruiting Durant to join the Knicks. 

Keep checking this page for the latest rumors from around the league. For more, also be sure to check out SI's ranking of the top 50 free agents

• Durant free agency hub | Everything you need to know about free agency

12 a.m. Thursday

• The Knicks are expected to sign Joakim Noah for a salary in the $18 million range, according toThe Washington Post’s Tim Bontempts. This comes after ESPN’s Marc Stein reported that multiple teams see New York as a “big favorite” to land Noah. 

11 p.m.

• The Clippers are expected to pitch Kevin Durant on joining Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan in a “Big Four” roster framework, Dan Woike of the Orange County Register reports. This scenario would involve L.A. clearing the rest of its roster out to fit salary needs. If Durant doesn’t bite, then the Clippers will focus on re-signing their own free agents — Jeff Green, Jamal Crawford and Austin Rivers.

10:15 p.m.

• The Blazers are planning to look closely at Dwight Howard, ESPN’s Zach Lowe reports.

• The Hawks are hesitant to offer Al Horford a fifth contract year only they can provide using his bird rights, Lowe reports. That hesitance jeopardizes their ability to keep him. Lowe also reports the Pistons are trying to schedule a meeting with Horford early in free agency.

• Hawks wing Kent Bazemore will have interest from teams including the Bucks, Grizzlies and Nets, Lowe reports.

• The Mavericks are balking at offering Chandler Parsons a max contract given his knee injuries and as they angle for marquee free agents, Lowe reports.

• Lowe reports the Raptors have approached the 76ers about trading for Nerlens Noel.

• Sixers guard Isaiah Canaan will become a free agent after the team declined to extend him a qualifying offer, Chris Haynes of reports.

8:15 p.m.

• Warriors players recruited Kevin Durant during the season, The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on his podcast Wednesday (h/t NBC Sports). “...the communication with some of the players in Golden State and Kevin,’ he said, “that’s not just starting now.”

7:45 p.m.

• The Warriors made qualifying offers to Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli and did not make offers to Ian Clark or James Michael McAdoo, the team announced.

• Dwight Howard could play on a short-term deal in Portland, USA Today’s Sam Amick reports.

7:15 p.m.

• Dwight Howard is expected by some executives to command a starting salary in the $10–15 million range, according to Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. The Rockets free agent center is reportedly seeking a max contract worth more than twice that.

• The Nets will tender Markel Brown a qualifying offer and make him a restricted free agent, ESPN’s Zach Lowe reports.

6:30 p.m.

• Nicolas Batum is “mulling over options” in Paris, including the Lakers, and will travel to the U.S. on Thursday, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Timesreports.

6:05 p.m.

• The Warriors are interested in trading center Andrew Bogut, Monte Poole of CSN Bay Area reports.

4:45 p.m.

• The Sixers are working with Dario Saric’s camp to bring him to the NBA next season and are hoping to finalize terms this month, ESPN’s Marc Stein reports.

• ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said in a radio interview that the Spurs and Mavericks are two teams “that have been contacted” about Dwyane Wade’s possible availability.

• Nuggets center Jusuf Nurkic has lost 35 pounds this off-season, Chris Dempsey of the Denver Postreports.

• The Hornets have officially extended a qualifying offer to Troy Daniels, making him a restricted free agent, the team announced.

3:45 p.m.

• ​The Clippers are promoting Lawrence Frank to executive vice president of basketball operations, according to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He will report directly to team president and head coach Doc Rivers.

• Austin Rivers could see a salary increase from $3.3 million to $8 million, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Timesreports.

2:45 p.m.

• The Pistons have traded veteran Jodie Meeks to the Magic for a conditional 2019 second-round pick, The Vertical’s Shams Charania reports.

• Boston will extend qualifying offers to Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller, making them restricted free agents, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.

• In an interview with HRT Sport in Croatia, 22-year-old Dario Saric says he will join the Sixers in the NBA this season.

• Free agent guard Jamal Crawford will meet with the Clippers, Knicks, Magic, Mavericks, and Heat when free agency begins, Brad Turner reports.

1:00 p.m.

• The Pelicans have extended a $1.2 million qualifying offer to guard Tim Frazier, making him a restricted free agent, ESPN's Justin Verrier reports. Teammate Alonzo Gee has until the end of the day to decline his $1.4 million player option for next season.

11:30 a.m.

• Kevin Durant will meet with the Thunder on June 30, one day before free agency begins, ESPN's Marc Stein reports.

• Despite their optimism about a face-to-face meeting, Durant will not visit the Lakers, ESPN's Chris Broussard reports. The Knicks, though, still may land a meeting.

• The Wizards and Bradley Beal will "quickly" enter negotiations on a new deal, according to Marc Stein. The team has interest in Nicolas Batum, Al Horford and Ryan Anderson.

9:00 a.m. ET

• LeBron James has declined his player option and will become a free agent on July 1, his agent confirmed to Chris Broussard. James does not intend to leave Cleveland, but will negotiate a new salary with the Cavaliers.

• Free-agent center Dwight Howard has granted recruiting meetings to the Atlanta Hawks and Boston Celtics, ESPN reports. Howard is expected to meet with as many as five teams hoping to sign him.

• The Philadelphia 76ers are planning on making a serious effort to sign Warriors restricted free agent Harrison Barnes, ESPN reports.

• The Warriors consider keeping Barnes a top priority, but will not be able to afford to do so if they are successful in their quest to sign Kevin Durant, ESPN reports. Whether they are able to retain free-agent center Festus Ezeli will also depend on where Durant signs.

• If the Warriors are unable to sign Kevin Durant, they will likely target Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah, David West or Timofey Mozgov, ESPN reports.

• The Warriors definitely plan on keeping point guard Shaun Livingston, ESPN sources confirmed. Livingston will earn $5.7 million next season.

• Durant reportedly has no plans to meet with the Los Angeles Lakers during free agency, but the team has not given up hopes of signing him, Broussard reports. “I can’t imagine Durant wouldn’t talk to us,” Broussard’s source said. “That would shock me.”

• Contract negotiations between free-agent Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat have stalled, which will prompt the 13-year Heat veteran to consider offers from other teams, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reports.

• Tim Duncan has exercised his player option for next season with the Spurs but has still not decided whether he will retire, reports Adrian Wojnarowkski.

• The Spurs are planning on keeping forward Boris Diaw, Marc Stein reports. He will earn $7 million in guaranteed salary for next season.

• San Antonio is not very interested in signing free-agent point guard Mike Conley, despite previous reports, a source told Marc Stein.

• The 76ers, Nets and Kings are among the teams interested in Trail Blazers guard Allen Crabbe, who is a restricted free agent, ESPN’s Ian Begley reports.