LeBron James is a few days away from having to decide if he will pick up his $35.6 million player option and remain a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. There’s every reason to believe that he will decline the option and become a free agent, meaning that a handful of NBA teams will once again be in a race to sign the greatest player on the planet. In the past, this recruiting process has involved day-long meetings and lengthy presentations that teams use to pitch LeBron on their franchise and city. But according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, LeBron doesn’t want to deal with any of that crap this time around.
James might meet or speak with a club official or owner at some point, but the elaborate presentations that have become common in NBA free agency over the years are unnecessary after 15 seasons in the league.
Should James become a free agent, league sources believe he and his agents Rich Paul and Mark Termini have enough understanding of the stakes and NBA landscape to handle the process without much fanfare.
This all makes sense—James probably already has his destination and three other subsequent personnel moves all planned out—but the news makes me sad because elaborate free agency pitches often produce truly memorable bits of NBA history. Who can forget the time the Knicks tried to win over LeBron by deploying a “slumping” James Dolan and Donnie Walsh in a neck brace? How about the time the Clippers pretended to retire Blake Griffin’s jersey just a few months before trading him?
Now we’ll never get to hear about a Lakers presentation that featured Jack Nicholson yelling a lot and accidentally calling him “LeRbon James.” There will be no leaked details about a Sixers video package built around 17 different scenes from Creed and four Meek Mill songs. Please, LeBron, at least take a meeting with the Knicks that James Dolan can fall asleep in.