Cavs Rumors: LeBron Will Opt Out Of Contract After Next Season, Has Interest In Joining Clippers

The Cleveland Cavaliers are only five days into their offseason, but there is already plenty of speculation about the future of LeBron James.

LeBron can opt out of his contract following next season, which Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle reports he intends to do - and is very interested in joining the Clippers, not the Lakers.

Those close to James insist that he will opt out of his Cleveland deal next summer and that he’s very interested in moving to Los Angeles, where he owns a home, where his kids are enrolled in a private school (just in case the family moves west), and where James’ business conglomerate has established a base of operations.

Such speculation was all about the Lakers until West agreed to join the Clippers as a consultant, the role he handled so influentially with the Warriors. And that just might change everything.

Shunned by the Lakers, and admittedly hurt over being rejected by new executives Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka, West wouldn’t mind sticking it to his old franchise. He and James have been friends since 2011, when LeBron reached out for advice on how to deal with losing (James’ Miami Heat had just lost the Finals to Dallas, and West was an expert, having spent all of the 1960s in futile pursuit of a title). And they remain in close contact.

Picture this, as we play the speculation game: LeBron hooks up with the Clippers in 2018. Steve Ballmer, the NBA’s wealthiest owner, sets his sights on Paul George and Russell Westbrook, each a free agent that summer and interested in returning home to L.A. With one of LeBron’s best friends, Paul, running the point. How’s that for a super team?

LeBron's relationships with Jerry West and Chris Paul are obviously big draws for the Clippers, and would seemingly give them the edge over the Lakers. However, how the Cavs play next season will largely play into his decision to either stay in Cleveland or leave.

The Spurs have emerged as a legitimate threat to sign Paul away from LA this offseason, which would also hurt their chances of getting James. Los Angeles does plan to offer Paul a five-year, $205 million max deal to re-sign with the team.

James averaged 26.4 points, 8.7 assists and 8.6 rebounds per game this past season.

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