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LeBron nears free agency status; Spurs open door to trade offers on Leonard


PhilBoxing.com



Lebron (L) and Leonard (R).

The front office of both Lebron James and Kawhi Leonard have expressed optimism that the differences of the two NBA superstars with their respective teams will be resolved with neither necessarily moving out to other cities.

Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman said on Friday that he has established a "good dialogue" with James's management team ahead of the star's impending free agency.

James will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 if he chooses to not select his $35.6 million option for the 2018-19 season. He has until June 29 to inform Cleveland of his decision.

The San Antonio Spurs on the other hand, are all ear, according to Reuters report, should any NBA team want to float a trade offer to acquire the soon to be 27-year-old All-Star.

Leonard and the Spurs are reportedly at odds, and a meeting with coach Gregg Popovich days after reports of Leonard's trade demand sparked speculation that a deal could be imminent.

The past season saw Leonard played in just nine games, averaging 16.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists.

In a separate Reuters report, Altman described talks between the Cavaliers and James' representatives as "good dialogue."

James has until midnight of June 29 to exercise the 2018-19 season option in his contract worth $35.6 million or opt out to become a free agent.

The Cavaliers believe drafting point guard Collin Sexton with the No. 8 pick on Thursday was a signal that they're still building around LeBron.

Altman also said owner Dan Gilbert is set to "spare no expense" building a championship team after the Cavaliers were swept by the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.

ESPN also reported on Thursday that the Spurs will not be contacting teams regarding trade scenarios. Instead, Popovich and general manager R.C. Buford are fielding calls from teams making proposals to acquire Leonard.

According to ESPN and Yahoo, the Los Angeles Lakers contacted the Spurs, but the conversation was brief and no players were discussed.

With the Free agency around the corner, rumors continue swirling over the past several weeks on where James will play next season. According to the latest odds, the Lakers continue to be favored as James's landing spot.

The Lakers top the list from Bovada with 4/13 odds, while the Cavaliers are second on the list at 13/4. The Rockets round out the top three at 15/2 odds.

Eleven days ago, the Lakers were tabbed as early favorites with 7/4 odds. The 76ers were second on the list at 11/5, as the Rockets and Cavaliers sat behind them.

The Lakers are also reportedly Leonard?s preferred destination although San Antonio isn?t obligated to send him there. But he can influence the process by stating a plan to sign with only certain team(s) in 2019 unrestricted free agency.

The Celtics and 76ers might have better assets to send to the Spurs. But if only the Lakers have a commitment from Leonard to re-sign, they might offer a greater share of their assets than Boston or Philadelphia would. Especially if Los Angeles believes acquiring Leonard would be the first domino in also landing LeBron James and Paul George.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.


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