James and his representatives will inform teams interested in negotiating with him that he wants the salary maximum, which is projected to be $22.2 million next season. He took a pay cut in 2010 to join the Miami Heat.
In 11 NBA seasons, James has never been the highest paid player on his team.
Instead of James scheduling meetings with teams as he did four years ago when he was a free agent, his agent Rich Paul is handling talks for now.
James has said that he may only want a short-term deal so he has the flexibility to be a free agent sooner than if he signed a four- or five-year contract.
It was previously reported that James met with Heat teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh -- also expected to be free agents -- about structuring their contracts with the Heat to allow the front office to make other roster additions that will keep them in championship contention.
The Heat, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers and Orlando Magic are the teams that have the cap space available to pay James $22.2 million next season.
The Heat have the most cap space at $55 million. Outside of that, the Lakers and Suns are considered the most serious bidders for James. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said the team does not plan to make any max contract offers to free agents.
Teams without cap space can only acquire James by cutting or trading players to free up the money or through a sign-and-trade deal, if the Heat are willing to comply.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets and Chicago Bulls are teams without space that may significantly reshuffle their rosters in hopes of landing James.
If the Heat re-sign James at the maximum level while also re-upping with Bosh and Wade, they will most likely not have enough cap space to make needed roster adds. If Bosh and Wade are willing to take pay cuts and James settles for less than a maximum deal, the Heat may be able to free enough cap room to use the $5.3 million midlevel exception, the $2 million biannual exception and a $2.2 million trade exception to add depth to the roster.