LeBron returns to LA to plot next move as free agency nears

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As OKC general manager Sam Presti noted in his draft news conference, Thunder officials have been in communication with George and his representatives since the end of the season.

While the Lakers were long considered the favorites to land the 3-and-D forward, George reportedly told the Thunder of his intentions to stay with the team long before free agency officially began. Conversely, speculation pointed to James signing with the Lakers.

It was to no avail, however as James wound up making the jump to Los Angeles.

George became a free agent on Friday after opting out of the final year of his contract. In it, he discusses his process, his decision to remain in Oklahoma City, and even thanks Lakers' fans for the love - while also saying that not being traded to Los Angeles last season ended up being a "beautiful thing" for him. "But it wasn't. Them just being hands-on, being open, being honest, keeping that relationship authentic - I thought everything has just been real". Russ is not LeBron James, or any of the other stars the Lakers are convinced they will add to their roster. While he's reached the Finals four straight years since returning to Cleveland, they've been beaten three times by Golden State and look to have plateaued.

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The Los Angeles Lakers landed LeBron James and then baffled the National Basketball Association world with their moves over the next 24 hours. At 12:01 a.m. Sunday, James will be an unrestricted free agent, and agent Rich Paul is expected to contact several teams with the Lakers and Cavs atop his list. He didn't disappoint in Miami either, winning titles in the 2012 and 2013 seasons, but losing to seasoned Dallas and San Antonio teams in 2011 and '14, respectively. Cleveland has deep salary-cap issues - partially caused by James' failure to commit long-term - and the Cavs now lack enough talent to unseat the champion Golden State Warriors.

'If y'all didn't quite get it, let me say it again.

George averaged 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 79 games this season for the Thunder. Before he was traded by the Indiana Pacers to the Thunder, George had expressed his intention to play for the Lakers.

The Denver Nuggets added to the huge night of spending out West when it got Will Barton to commit to staying in what will be a four-year deal that could be worth more than $50 million if he doesn't opt out a year early, and that move comes on the cusp of the Nuggets getting talented big man Nikola Jokic to stay in what will be a five-year deal worth almost $150 million. "I wanted to come here a year ago prior to going to OKC".

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