As anticipated, LeBron James reportedly told the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday he will opt out of the final year of his contract, but there's only a slim chance the four-time NBA MVP will leave his hometown team.
Although James will become an unrestricted free agent Wednesday, forgoing his $21.6-million option could help him set up a potential, long-term deal with the team next year, according to multiple reports.
Two weeks ago, Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin said he expected James to opt out of his contract. The Cleveland Plain Dealer and Associated Press reported the Cavaliers are confident James will re-sign with the team and that James is likely seeking another two-year deal with a player option for 2017-18.
ESPN first reported James' decision.
James, 30, could sign a new contract as early as July 9, but waiting could help him leverage the Cavaliers' front office into possibly pushing for players he would like to see back on the team.
Cleveland's Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Matthew Dellavedova are set to be free agents. The Cavaliers also need to re-sign Kevin Love, who opted out of the final year of his deal last week.
If James agrees to a new deal with the Cavaliers, it could lead to a potential long-term megadeal next year that would maximize revenues tied to the NBA's new TV contract.
James, who led the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals this past season, is seeking to end Cleveland's 51-year drought for a major sports championship.