The move was reportedly a mutual decision, with the 40-year-old German expected to re-sign this month after the team's pursuits in free agency are complete. The star forward is another Southern California native who has said he wants out of San Antonio for the final year of his contract and that the Lakers are at the top of his list of destinations. James owns a home in Los Angeles and has spoken openly about his desire to be involved in Hollywood after his career his over. But Cleveland's roster is in need of an overhaul, and the Cavaliers are in the hard situation of having to convince James they will continue to improve without knowing if he will be back.
LeBron James was spotted flying a private plane into Los Angeles on Saturday, according to an ESPN SportsCenter report, but Lakers fans shouldn't get their hopes up about their team reeling in the NBA's most coveted free agent just yet.
The New York Times also reported that Dallas are interested in the New Orleans Pelicans' DeMarcus Cousins and Houston restricted free agent Clint Capela. Think about how easy it should be to build a strong contender around a dominant player like James, and when seeing how poor of a job the Cavaliers did this past season, seeing James opt out really isn't all that surprising.
James has played in the NBA Finals eight consecutive years.
The network reported earlier in the week that James is unlikely to visit other teams or take an audience with suitors as he did in past free agent circuits.
After an entire year of speculation about James' decision this free agency, the Lakers have seemed to be the favorite for a longtime with teams like Houston, and Philadelphia catching up in the race late in the season. The Los Angeles Lakers are also trying to acquire Leonard - plus free agent Paul George - to form a core of superstars in a major media market. When James left Cleveland for the Miami Heat in 2010, he announced the move on a one-hour ESPN TV special called "The Decision" on July 8. James is now eligible to sign a five-year supermax deal with the Cavaliers that would be worth $205 million over five seasons. That's made it tough for Cleveland to upgrade its roster, but the Cavs remain committed to bringing back James even for just one more year. The four-time league MVP himself will not attend.