This time around, James opting out strongly hurts Houston's chances of landing the King. But, will anybody be able to catch Golden State?
That's not an option anymore.
James would certainly be that star.
LeBron put up 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 9.1 assists and 1.4 steals this past season.
However, the Rockets have plenty of big contracts of their own from the summer spending frenzy of 2016 that they've been unable to unload in order to make space for James.
So now we're left to find out what exactly it is LeBron prefers when it comes to his next destination. Still, LeBron could head to Los Angeles first and worry about the roster later, as Sporting News' Sean Deveney has previously reported.
Had James exercised his option, he could have set up a trade with the Rockets similar to what Chris Paul did last summer as a member of the Clippers. Philadelphia's young and upcoming stars are also an intriguing choice. But Cleveland's roster is in need of an overhaul, and the Cavaliers are in the hard situation of having to convince James they will continue to improve without knowing if he will be back.
What motivates his forthcoming decision is hard to say.
Five years ago this summer, the Sixers embarked on a radical rebuild that generated controversy around the league to an nearly unprecedented degree.
That doesn't mean the rumor mill hasn't stopped churning, with much of the focus on how he might land with the Lakers.
Even after 15 years in the league, James is coming off one of the top seasons of his career, ending with his eighth straight trip to the NBA Finals.
The Boston Celtics, meanwhile, are over the salary cap now and would have to do backflips to get under, far closer to the luxury tax line than they would be to opening a max salary spot. That would pair arguably the two best players in the league with one of the NBA's most storied franchises. James has until Friday to opt out of his current deal and become a free agent.