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The signs point to LeBron James leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers this summer.
Citing "those who have knowledge of James", the New York Times Marc Stein wrote on Friday that " the allegation of the family members seems to be the only force that could persuade him to extend his second season with the Cavs and resist the opportunity to change teams, as he did in 2010 and again in 2014. "
There has not been a favorite to sign James in case he leaves the last year of his deal with the Cavaliers, but there is a group of teams that seems to bet on his services on July 1.
On Wednesday, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith appeared on First Take (h / t Yahoo Sports Ben Rohrbach) and said that the Cavaliers, the Philadelphia 76ers, the Houston Lakers, the Lakers from Los Angeles and the Boston Celtics could have meetings with James.
Smith also mentioned that James could talk to the Golden State Warriors, though he noted that the defending champions are not a particularly likely landing spot with Kevin Durant expected and strong financial commitments with Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green already in the books.
In any case, the focus seems to be on the situation that will provide James with a clear path to more rings with his budding 34th birthday in December, as Stein wrote:
"The belief of all league, of course, is that chasing championships is the priority of James, who needs to relocate to a much better equipped team than the Cavaliers, he can do so by signing elsewhere as a free agent after July 1, or by opting for the last season of his Cleveland's current contract and force a change to a new home. "