66ºF

Here's what LeBron James' free-agency means for Houston

LeBron James dribbles the ball during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Toronto Raptors. (Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

HOUSTON – It was the decision everyone was waiting for as free agency approached, and now LeBron James has made his latest decision.

Per multiple reports, James has informed the Cavaliers that he plans on opting out of the final year of his contract and will become an unrestricted free agent.

In doing so, that dramatically decreases the chances that the Houston Rockets would be able to orchestrate the maneuvers necessary to sign both James and Chris Paul to play alongside James Harden in Houston. Houston would have to gut their roster to even make this possible and it’s extremely unlikely any of the parties involved would be in favor of that.

Had James opted-into the final year of his contract, while he would have presumably earned roughly the same amount of money for the upcoming season, the Rockets would have been able to acquire James via a sign-and-trade deal with Cleveland. Even that was a remote possibility.

James could still return to Cleveland by signing a new contract with the Cavaliers, but he can also now negotiate a deal with any team he chooses.

The Lakers remain the betting favorite to land James, with hopes of pairing him potentially with Paul George, also an unrestricted free agent, and the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard, who reportedly still wants to be traded from the Spurs.