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The summer of LeBron part three doesn't officially begin until NBA free agency gets underway on July 1. Let's be honest though, it started as soon as the final buzzer sounded at the end of game four of the NBA Finals.
So what is LeBron going to do? Will he decide to stay home and re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers or will he take his talents somewhere else? Following the game four loss to the Golden State Warriors, LeBron's future was a topic of conversation during his postgame media availability.
“I have no idea at this point,” James said. “The one thing that I've always done is considered, obviously, my family. Understanding especially where my boys are at this point in their age. They were a lot younger the last time I made a decision like this four years ago. I've got a teenage boy, a pre-teen and a little girl that wasn't around as well. So sitting down and considering everything, my family is a huge part of whatever I'll decide to do in my career, and it will continue to be that. So I don't have an answer for you right now as far as that.”
The Cleveland Cavaliers will have an idea of whether James will opt in to his current contract or not for the 2018-2019 season before free agency begins. LeBron has to notify the team of his intentions by June 29. The Cavaliers can still offer LeBron the most money.
There will be plenty of teams looking to add James to their roster beginning next season. In the eastern conference, the Philadelphia 76ers have a young and up and coming team that features young talent in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
Over in the western conference, the Los Angeles Lakers have created cap space to lure two top free agents to town. LeBron and Paul George could team up to create a new version of the showtime Lakers days.
The Houston Rockets are in must win mode now after losing to the Warriors in seven games in the Western Conference Finals. LeBron would create a super team in Houston allow side his buddy Chris Paul and fellow most valuable player candidate James Harden. Together, the three of them could prevent the Warriors from winning a fourth title in five years next season.
Other possible destinations are the Boston Celtics, the San Antonio Spurs, the Miami Heat and dare I say it, the Warriors.
LeBron's decision will be important for two current members of the Cavaliers. The futures of Kevin Love and head coach Tyronn Lue could be elsewhere if James leaves the wine and gold.
“It’s something where I’m sure he will spend time with his family and when that times comes to make a decision, he will be in a good frame of mind,” Love said. “Obviously, I’d love to play with LeBron the rest of my career, but that will be a choice that he makes. Anything is possible. People have been saying that for the past four years. I knew that question would come. But I like to be here. I’ve always said that. Always wanted to win here.”
“I hope he stays. I mean, we all know that,” Lue said. “But after a game like that, I'm not in any position to talk about that. I just appreciate what he's done for us this season. That's all I can really speak about.”
No matter where LeBron decides to continue his playing career this upcoming season, there is a chance he will still be a part of the Cavaliers organization at some point. With all the money James has through endorsements, business opportunities and his basketball talent, LeBron could become the owner of the franchise after his playing days are over.
“At the end of the day, for me, staying around the game, being around the game will be something I'll probably do for the rest of my life, either while I'm playing for this later stage of my career, advising people in the NBA or whatever the case may be,” James said. “I've got two boys that play the game as well. So I don't know. I can't predict the future on ownership and things of that nature. But I have a lot of knowledge of the game. I understand talent. I know talent. I know the right questions to ask certain guys and see if they're smart enough to actually think the game as well. So we'll see what happens.”
And we'll see what happens with LeBron's short term plans about his basketball future come July