LeBron opts out of contract option, is now an unrestricted free agent

CLEVELAND - Here we go again.

LeBron James opted out of a one-year contract extension with the Cavs that would have paid him $35.6 million this season, according to the Associated Press. He is now an unrestricted free agent, which means the best basketball player on the planet could sign a longer-term deal with the Cavs – or with another team.

This is the third time James has hit the free agent market. In 2010 he left the Cavs for the Miami Heat. (Let us never speak of it again.) In 2015 he left Miami and returned to Cleveland and signed a three-year deal. James typically chooses to sign short-term deals, which ultimately net him more money.

Where James ends up remains anyone’s guess. (Which hasn’t stopped us from guessing.) The Cavs, who can pay him the most, the Lakers and a few other teams are all said to be contenders.

When will we know?

James announced his decision to go to Miami in 2010 on July 8.

He announced he was returning to the Cavs in 2015 on July 11.

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