LeBron James likely isn't heading to the Los Angeles Clippers as a free agent this offseason, even though they carved out more cap space Monday by trading Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for three players and two draft picks.
Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated reported James isn't likely to consider the Clippers in free agency. They likewise don't expect him to consider signing with them, according to Spears.
Griffin signed a five-year, $171-plus million deal last summer, so he was owed more than $30 million in each of the next three years, plus a player option in 2021-22 for more than $38 million.
After trading him away, the Clippers could have as much as $27 million in available cap space this offseason.
According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the move indicated the Clippers' belief in being able to sign James this offseason. Keith Smith of RealGM noted it could make the Lakers "a little nervous" as both squads pursue the four-time MVP.
While James could be a free agent this summer if he declines his player option, it doesn't appear as though the Clippers are a legitimate option.
With Spears, Stein and others also reporting DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams are on the trade block, Los Angeles could be in the midst a full rebuild entering next season. At 33 years old, James likely will be looking for a team more ready to contend for a title to add to his legacy.