LeBron James is unlikely to visit other teams or take an audience with suitors as he did in past free agent circuits, according to an ESPN report on Monday.
Per the report, James might not even speak with top team officials before making a decision on his destination for next season.
James faces a Friday deadline to opt out of the final year of his existing contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He could opt out and re-sign with Cleveland, although the strong current from national media is James appears ready to move again.
In 2014, he returned to the Cavaliers after an in-person meeting with team owner Dan Gilbert. Their relationship was never a great one, but has splintered in recent years. In 2010, James bolted Cleveland for the Miami Heat in a nationally televised announcement “The Decision,” after meetings with the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers.
—The Denver Nuggets plan to decline the contract option for restricted free agent Nikola Jokic to instead sign him to a five-year, $146.5 million contract, according to a Yahoo Sports report.
Denver would owe Jokic just $1.6 million in 2018-19 by exercising the option, but that would allow him to hit unrestricted free agency next summer.
On draft night last week, Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said the Nuggets were making a long-term commitment to Jokic, saying, “Nikola’s going to be here for a long, long time. I think whatever we do, we’re going to ensure he’s here as long as possible.”
—Danny Green will return to the San Antonio Spurs for a ninth season after exercising his $10 million contract option for 2018-19, ESPN reported.
Green, 31, has played in 540 games with the Spurs, winning a title with them in 2014. He has averaged 8.8 points and 3.4 rebounds in his nine-year career.
Last season, Green averaged 8.6 points and 3.6 boards over 70 games.
—The Indiana Pacers declined guard Lance Stephenson’s team option for the 2018-19 season, making him an unrestricted free agent when the negotiation period begins Sunday.
“This was a very difficult decision, but as free agency begins on July 1, we want to have flexibility so that we can prepare for all of our available options,” Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said in a statement.
The Pacers have not ruled out re-signing Stephenson at a later date, but they are expected to pursue Tyreke Evans and Will Barton once the free-agent market opens. Stephenson, 27, was scheduled to make $4.3 million this season if the option had been picked up.
—The NBA Board of Governors unanimously voted to increase the debt limit of owners to $325 million, according to a report from ESPN.
The vote, which reportedly took place Friday, raises the debt limit $75 million.
The decision comes ahead of higher team payrolls and luxury taxes expected throughout the league next season. NBA franchises are being valued higher than ever before, and players are being paid greater salaries.
—EuroLeague standout guard Brad Wanamaker is finalizing a deal to join the Boston Celtics for the 2018-19 season, according to multiple reports.
Wanamaker, 28, helped Turkish team Fenerbahce reach the EuroLeague Final Four this season, earning second-team all-EuroLeague honors.
He has discussed possible deals with NBA teams on multiple occasions in recent years. Wanamaker has spent the last seven seasons playing in Europe after going undrafted out of Pittsburgh in 2011.
—The Orlando Magic waived guard Shelvin Mack, prior to the deadline for his $6 million salary for next season to be guaranteed.
With the move, only $1 million counts toward the Magic cap, while Mack will now become a free agent.
A second-round pick by the Washington Wizards in 2011, Mack has played for five franchises in his seven-year career.
—Field Level Media