LeBron James has declined to exercise the player option on his contract and now the free agent circus begins.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James has declined to exercise his $35.6 million 2018-19 player option and will become an unrestricted free agent, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com.
James' agent, Rich Paul, informed the Cavaliers of the star's decision on Friday morning, according to Vardon. James has never exercised the option on any of his previous contracts.
Potential free agents with an early termination player option in their contracts for next season had until June 29 to inform teams of their intentions.
Free agency starts July 1 and players can sign deals starting at 12 p.m. ET on July 6. The Cavaliers can offer a five-year deal worth $207.4 million, which is more than the next-best offer by a team of $152.3 million for four years.
James, 33, averaged 27.5 points, a career–high 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds, and led the league in minutes for the second straight year. He also made the All-NBA First Team for the 11th straight season.
Among the teams reportedly vying to sign James include the Los Angeles Lakers, Cavaliers, Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers. Cleveland.com reports that James' interest in joining the Lakers is strong.
James appeared in the NBA Finals for the eight straight year, where the Cavaliers were swept by the Golden State Warriors.