CLEVELAND – When NBA Freelance Agency officially opens at 00:01 ET, Sunday, the Cleveland Cavaliers will not meet with LeBron James or his representatives in person, ESPN said.
James & Cavaliers' camp and front office have been engaged in dialogue since the end of the season. James' agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports informed the Cavs on Friday morning that the four-time MVP would not opt for the final year of his contract; He was to make $ 35.6 million between 2018 and 1935.
Paul, who represents several other players entering the free agency – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Nerlens Noel among them – will be launching his entire business on the phone as a freelance agency, sources ESPN reported.
It is not clear at this point whether a personal meeting between James and the Cavs has been planned on the line. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN said this week that James would not be conducting elaborate pitch meetings during the freelance process.
If James had agreed on Friday, the Cavaliers would have taken that as a bad sign as they believed his greatest motivation. This would mean placing a deal with another team that did not have the cap to directly sign it, like the Houston Rockets.
James had flown on a plane to Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles on Saturday, a source says ESPN. James flew from the Caribbean island of Anguilla and landed in Van Nuys shortly after 11am. His reason for being there is unknown: the Lakers are considered a strong candidate to sign James, but he also has a low season house in LA
As it stands now, the Cavs still believe that they are in the Blend are to retain James and can offer significantly more cash – $ 207 million over five years, compared to $ 152 million over four years – as the Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers, with the 76ers being the other team considered as a strong likely candidate becomes.
A source who thinks with Cavs that James has re-signed Cleveland's "Plan A, B, and C" when it comes to free agency.
Cleveland is already on the $ 101 million salary cap, even without James's contract, with the guaranteed 10 contracts already in the books. Cavs' $ 3.4 million qualifying offer to make Rodney Hood a restricted free agent, as first reported by Cleveland.com, would bring the total to 11 players
James would be 12th, meaning that Cleveland just wants to fill up two or three open rosters as it is.
Teams can carry a maximum of 15 players. However, the Cavs are likely to have at least one roster open so they can guarantee Kendrick Perkins' $ 2.5 million contract if they find a trading partner who owns Perkins & # 39; Deal Salary Needed to Do the Mathwork
The Cavs has $ 5.3 million in tax relief available to free agents to offer to a player or try to split between two players offering a marginal bonus to the veteran's minimum.  A league source familiar with the Cavs' thinking told ESPN that the franchise has found it difficult to plan its entire team around James with the way he approaches his free agency, causing hesitation by free agents or Trading partner could lead with Cleveland in the meantime.
However, whatever traps may come with how James makes his decision, the Cavs, after the source, still very much hope to be able to sign it again.
Cleveland has a coup The other veterans from last year's team will be free agents – Jeff Green and Jose Calderon – but none is considered a "first-pass type" and should still be on the market after the Cavs James' plans have been found out.
While it might seem that the Cavs are out of pursuit of James for a relatively quiet free agency time, the summer was preceded by a rash of activities undertaken by General Manager Koby Altman of Commerce for Hood, Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson and George Hill in February to design point guard Collin Sexton with the No. 8 pick in June.