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LeBron James Opts Out, Will Officially Become Free Agent

To the surprise of precisely no one, LeBron James has officially decided to opt out of his deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to Cleveland.com's Joe Vardon. He will become an unrestricted free agent.

James could have exercised his $35.6 million option with the Cavs, but will instead hit the open market. He has been heavily linked to the Los Angeles Lakers as a possible match in free agency, and is also expected to meet with the Boston Celtics, in addition to several other teams.

Rumors have persisted that both James and Paul George would sign with the Lakers, who would then acquire Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs to form a new "Big 3" in Los Angeles. The possibility also remains that James would re-sign with the Cavs for another extension, but that appears highly unlikely now.

James' decision will probably be the first major domino to fall in NBA free agency and determine the course of the rest of the league's big-name players who will be on the move.

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