James will now need to consider becoming the first man to arrive in Los Angeles with no guarantees made about the Lakers' ability to acquire Kawhi Leonard in the near future.
On Friday, Rich Paul, James' agent informed the Cavaliers that his client would be declining his $35.6-million player option with the Cavaliers for next season, meaning he would become an unrestricted free agent.
A league source familiar with the Cavs' thinking told ESPN that the franchise has found it hard to plan for its full team around James with the way he has approached his free agency, which could prompt hesitancy by free agents or trade partners to complete deals with Cleveland in the interim.
They'd also need scoring off the bench, and there are several free agents who would jump at an opportunity to have this kind of prominent role on a team like the Lakers.
While the common belief is that James will sign a long-term deal, he could do the same thing he's been doing since rejoining the Cavs.
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Right now, James is at a point in his career where his main focus is going to be joining a team that's going to have the best chance of taking down a team like the Warriors since they aren't going away anytime soon.
Per the Times, the Mavericks did not want to surrender draft compensation in a trade, preferring to pursue Jordan via free agency.
The Cavs can also offer him the most lucrative package, a five-year, $209 million contract.
Also after hearing LeBron would like to play with Paul George next season, the Lakers made a pass at the small forward while still under contract and got a slap on the wrist from the National Basketball Association front office.
After returning to the Cleveland on the heels of a four-year run with the Miami Heat, James led the Cavaliers to four consecutive NBA Finals appearances. In the long run, Los Angeles' wild success is riding on whether or not they land a star.
The option was part of a two-year, $21 million deal signed last July. But if James chooses, he can essentially pick any team and make it happen. Even at the age of 33, James averaged 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 9.1 assists per game in 2017-18.