LeBron James is officially a free agent, and rumors of his next move are abounding

LeBron James is officially a free agent, and rumors of his next move are abounding
  • LeBron James will officially become a free agent on July 1.

  • Rumors about his next move are abounding, with many suggesting he's plotting a move to the Los Angeles Lakers.

  • With reports, rumors, whispers, and buzz about James trying to team up with other superstars, no one is quite sure what's next for the NBA's best player.

NBA free agency kicks off on July 1, and all eyes will be focused on LeBron James.

According to Cleveland.com's Joe Vardon, James will officially become a free agent by turning down his contract option for next season.

In a testament to the closeness of James' inner-circle, there is essentially no certainty of what he'll do in free agency. Rumors and reports have suggested James' top choices will be the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers, with some teams on the periphery, like the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets. Many options for him are complicated, however, and it seems as if there's no perfect fit for him.

That doesn't mean the rumor mill hasn't stopped churning, with much of the focus on how he might land with the Lakers.

According to ESPN, the Lakers are trying to trade for Kawhi Leonard, believing landing Leonard would entice James to sign with them.

ESPN reported that there is a belief that James is hesitant to be the first star to join the Lakers, thus landing Leonard could be an important first step for Los Angeles. However, Vardon reported that James' mind would not be made up by Leonard landing or not landing with the Lakers.

Yahoo's Jordan Schultz reported that Leonard reached out to James to discuss going to the Lakers, with Leonard saying he would like to play alongside James.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reported on "First Take" that James reached out to Kevin Durant to gauge his interest in joining the Lakers. Both Vardon and ESPN's Zach Lowe refuted that report.

James' decision to opt out of his contract seems to take the Houston Rockets off the table, as they would have major hurdles in signing him as a free agent while keeping their core together. Nonetheless, The New York Times' Marc Stein reported that Chris Paul has been recruiting James to Houston.

The 76ers stand as a third and seemingly distant runner-up for James. They may not be his top preference, but they can make the cap space to sign him outright, and their young core might be attractive to James. The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported that there has long been discussion around the league about the 76ers adding James and Leonard this offseason.

There is likely plenty more to come. As ESPN's Brian Windhorst has stated, there is a pool of teams that seem like likely destinations for James. But if James chooses, he can pick any team to go to and make it happen. The possibilities are endless.

While the NBA world buzzes about James' next move, James was cliff-diving on vacation on Thursday.

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