LeBron James Rumors: Pressure from Family Only Way He Would Stay with Cavaliers

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJune 8, 2018

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 06:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives against Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors during Game Three of the 2018 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 6, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Signs are reportedly pointing toward LeBron James leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers this summer. 

Citing "those privy to James' thinking," the New York Times' Marc Stein wrote on Friday that "pleading from family members appears to be the only force that could persuade him to extend his second stint with the Cavs and resist the opportunity to switch teams, as he did in 2010 and again in 2014."

A favorite hasn't emerged to sign James in the event he opts out of the final year of his deal with the Cavaliers, but there is a group of teams that figures to jockey for his services come July 1. 

On Wednesday, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith appeared on First Take (h/t Yahoo Sports' Ben Rohrbach) and said the Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics could all be granted meetings with James. 

Smith also mentioned James could talk to the Golden State Warriors, although he noted the defending champions aren't a particularly likely landing spot with Kevin Durant expected back and hefty financial commitments to Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green already on the books. 

In any case, the focus seems to be on the situation that will provide James with a clear-cut path toward more rings with his 34th birthday looming in December, as Stein wrote: 

"The leaguewide belief, of course, is that chasing championships is James's priority, which necessitates relocating to a team far better equipped to do so than the Cavaliers. He can do so either by signing elsewhere as a free agent after July 1 or opting into the final season of his current Cleveland contract and forcing a trade to a new home."