The Los Angeles Clippers have examined the possibility of acquiring LeBron James this offseason, according to sources.
The Miami Heat consider the Clippers to perhaps be the most serious competition to sign James if he opts out.
"This time is going to be different," a source close to James said about James' view of free agency. "If LeBron decides to look at other options it won't just be teams with cap space. He has 30 options if he wants them."
The Clippers will not have cap space to sign James outright and would require a sign-and-trade involving the cooperation of the Heat.
League executives believe the Heat would ask for Blake Griffin in return from the Clippers. Los Angeles would need to shed additional salary.
James respects Doc Rivers perhaps more than any coach he hasn't played for and is very close to Chris Paul.
"LeBron is not thinking about free agency right now, he's totally focused on the season," said one James associate. "In the summer he knows he can get to any team he wants to."