LeBron James has been through this free agency soap opera two times already, so he doesn’t need a PowerPoint presentation or an empty arena with one spotlight on a retired No. 23 jersey in the rafters.
This time around, the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar doesn’t want any fancy free agency pitches, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. James just wants to weigh his options, maybe meet with the team owner or a front-office executive, and make his decision without a team trying to convince him with a bunch of bells and whistles why it makes sense for him to sign with them. He knows why.
This is the mark of a man who understands his status as one of the game’s greatest players. You don’t need to boost the ego of a guy who gets how he will change your franchise just by being a part of it.
Besides, James is comfortable trusting his agents Rich Paul and Mark Termini to handle his business for him, and the lot of them know full well how he will fit into the team of his choice, per Shelburne.
So, is LeBron James officially entering free agency?
James has yet to pick up his $35.6 million option to play for the Cavs in 2018-19, and while he has until Friday to make that choice, this report makes it fairly clear he intends to do so. That is, unless picking up the player option helps him get where he wants, as Chris Paul did in going to the Houston Rockets.
What teams will LeBron’s agents meet with?
Speaking of the Rockets, they are one of seven teams James or his representatives are “going to have a conversation with” in free agency, according to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith. The Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat are the others.
How did LeBron’s 2010 free agency pitches go down?
The Heat used a three-hour pitch to lure James to Miami in 2010, when the league’s two-time reigning MVP also met with the Cavs, L.A. Clippers, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets in downtown Cleveland — pitches that included everything from Jay-Z to “Family Guy”-themed cartoons. He of course made his “Decision” on a live TV broadcast that was followed by a wild welcome party.
What about 2014?
James’ 2014 free agency was much more subdued. He met face-to-face with Heat president Pat Riley and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, while his reps reportedly took meetings with the Bulls, Lakers, Rockets, Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks. He announced that decision in a Sports Illustrated essay.
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