NATIONAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE NEWS & NOTES – LEBRON, GEORGE, LEONARDS ALL WORKING THE FREE AGENT MARKET

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The NBA has reportedly informed teams the salary cap for the 2018-19 season will sit at $101.8 million, according to ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

That represents a modest increase over last season’s $99.1 million cap figure.

The NBA also confirmed the new luxury tax threshold has been set at $123.7 million.

The salary-cap floor—which is 90 percent of the total salary-cap figure, according to the collective bargaining agreement—has nudged up to $91.6 million.

Additionally, the non-taxpayer mid-level exception is now $8.6 million, the taxpayer mid-level exception is $5.3 million and the mid-level exception for teams with room under the salary cap is $4.5 million.

The new figures will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Sunday when the moratorium period begins at the start of the new league year.

Despite the slight upticks across the board, it’s not expected to be the busiest summer on the signing front. According to Spotrac, only seven teams are projected to have more than $20 million in cap space in the event they renounce all existing cap holds. By ALEC NATHAN

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After declining his $20.7 million player option for the 2018-19 NBA season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Paul George will officially become an unrestricted free agent.

Despite the Indiana Pacers trading George to the Thunder prior to the 2017-18 season, he was consistently linked with the Los Angeles Lakers. However, with president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka opting for free agency instead of a trade, there was a major risk with such a decision.

Although the Thunder were ultimately eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Utah Jazz, it allowed George to develop a relationship with Russell Westbrook and the organization. As a result, there is uncertainty about the 28-year-old wanting to play for his hometown team.

According to Marc Stein of New York Times, George is considering a short-term deal to re-sign with the Thunder. By  Dan Duangdao


 writes LeBron James’ free agency decision will cause a seismic shift in power in the NBA, as whatever team the best player in the world plays for immediately becomes a contender.

While Las Vegas can’t offer odds on where James will sign, their 2018-19 title odds have hinted at where they expect him to land over recent months. This past week, the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook pulled title futures off the board in order to wait out James’ free agency decision (and possibly a Kawhi Leonard trade).

Offshore books, however, aren’t bound to the same regulations as books in Las Vegas. As such, they can offer odds on where James will sign. Over recent weeks, odds have slowly but surely shifted to where the Lakers have become prohibitive favorites to sign LeBron, but on Saturday at one such book the odds took a massive leap out to 50-1 (-5000), indicating they feel it’s a mortal lock LeBron ends up in L.A.

Almost all of the chatter heading into free agency is about LeBron James joining the Los Angeles Lakers, with or without Kawhi Leonard already there.

James is in L.A. currently to make his decision, flying in on Saturday afternoon to some waiting for him at the small airport he arrived at after tracking his plane from Anguilla. If LeBron doesn’t go to L.A. as expected, most anticipate he’ll end up re-signing in Cleveland. That leaves the other possible LeBron suitors with very little in the way of hope, but until he’s signed they won’t stop trying to lure the best player in the world to their team.

After not opting in, teams like the Rockets and Celtics are almost officially out of the running for James, but the Sixers still have the cap space and situation to possibly make him think. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have spoken openly about recruiting LeBron, and on Saturday Embiid took a new approach with some negative recruiting against the Lakers on Twitter.

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