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LeBron, Cavs still displaying professionalism in negotiations (1:10)

Dave McMenamin says the call between LeBron James and Koby Altman shows Cleveland is still in the running to re-sign him. (1:10)

Dave McMenamin ESPN Staff Writer
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CLEVELAND -- Preowned Patent leather flats Burberry zAeJPNl
general manager Koby Altman spoke to both LeBron James and his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, over the phone when NBA free agency officially opened at 12:01 a.m. ET Sunday, sources told ESPN.

No matter where LeBron James chooses to take his talents next season, the 2018-19 NBA title odds will be greatly affected.

LeBron James did not pick up his player option with the Cavaliers, setting up a summer sweepstakes for the unrestricted free agent.

1 Related

It is unclear at this point if an in-person meeting between James and the Cavs has been scheduled down the line. ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported this week that James would not be seeking elaborate pitch meetings during the free-agency process.

James' camp and the Cavaliers' front office have maintained a dialogue since the season ended, sources said. Paul informed the Cavs on Friday morning that the four-time MVP would not opt in to the final year of his contract; he was scheduled to make $35.6 million in 2018-19.

Paul, who represents several other players entering into free agency -- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Nerlens Noel among them -- will conduct all his business over the phone when free agency begins, sources told ESPN.

Had James opted in on Friday, the Cavaliers' brass would have considered that a bad sign, as they believed his biggest motivation to do so would be to accommodate a trade to another team that didn't have the cap space to sign him outright, such as the Houston Rockets .

Here's the latest on another thrilling summer in the NBA:

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Jeff Bezos

Thursday, Yasmine Womens HiTop Slippers Trespass oLjcNgKPBq
it says almost anyone with enough savings and a desire to be their own boss can do: staffing and operating a fleet of delivery trucks for the e-commerce giant.

It's a program called Delivery Service Partners, and Amazon is hoping it will solve the problem of last-mile delivery. With an initial investment " Ab693 Womens Satchel Brown Reed 16x24x30 cm B x H T Escada Sport 16x24x30 cm (B x H T) Escada Sport I9Bpu
," according to Amazon, an entrepreneur can start a business that hires drivers and leases up to 40 vans to deliver packages from warehouses to homes.

Drivers will wear Amazon-branded uniforms and the vans will sport Amazon Prime logos — but the business will be owned by the entrepreneurs themselves and contracted by Amazon to complete deliveries, according to Amazon. (The company won't allow vans with Amazon branding to be used to service competitors, according to The New York Times .)

To keep the start-up costs low for interested owners, Amazon is providing access to third-party deals on costs like leasing the vans, getting insurance and buying mobile devices with data plans. Although the newly formed businesses aren't required to use the deals through Amazon, they "may not be able to achieve the start-up cost figure [estimated as low as $10,000] without doing so," Amazon discloses in a brochure about the program .

For "successful owners" operating with 20 to 40 vans, Amazon estimates potential annual profits will range from $75,000 to $300,000, although those numbers will differ by city and the individual business' costs, according to the brochure.

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Amazon's 'last mile' program seeking partners

So how do you apply to become a part of the program? First, interested entrepreneurs have to be vetted and approved by Amazon.

In its initial application listed online, Amazon gives five qualifications for the Delivery Service Partner program:

In addition to your basic contact information, the application only asks a few "yes or no" questions about your experience, past bankruptcies and current financial assets. After you express interest (and confirm that you have $30,000 in the bank), there is a longer application Amazon will ask you to fill out, according to the website. Then, it can take anywhere from one month to six months to get started as a Delivery Service Partner, according to the application.

For those accepted into the program, the power of Amazon's brand shouldn't be underestimated, New York University Stern School of Business professor Womens Ami RibKnit MockTurtleneck Dress Lagence jvGJJKbH
tells CNBC Make It.

"Associating yourself with the Amazon brand, even if you are one of several hundred delivery companies, is extremely powerful," Ghose explains. If you start your own low-cost small business on your own, "then, it's just your brand. And it's going to take forever for anybody to establish their own brand. I think that, for me, is the biggest difference."

Of course, no business is foolproof. Don't just quit your job hoping to make $300,000 your first year out. Even Amazon provides a broad range of potential profits per year — and Colum Sh Marl/Lea Mens LowTop Sneakers Boxfresh NytXC
.

Plus, the branding connection will mean you're beholden to Amazon in some ways, explains Jeremy Kagan, an adjunct professor of marketing at Columbia Business School and the managing director of The Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center . And that can limit your ability to scale.

"When you go through all of the trouble of setting up a business, usually it will be in the later years when you've gotten established, you've got your employees, you've got your business, that you start really reaping the rewards of growing it, and maybe ultimately selling it," Kagan says. But with a business that depends on another brand as its primary (or only) customer, "I don't know that you have a lot of ability to grow from there."

Amazon Delivery Service Partners couldn't be immediately reached for comment.

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