AP sources: James, Cavaliers agree to 2-year contract
Just shy of the one-year anniversary of his celebrated homecoming, LeBron James told the Cavaliers he’s staying put.
James agreed to terms of a one-year, $23 million contract for next season, two people familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press on Thursday. The deal includes a player option for 2016-17, said the persons who spoke on condition of anonymity because James has not yet signed the contract.
That will be done soon as the four-time MVP has a busy schedule over the next few weeks to promote a new comedy film in which he portrays himself.
James is hosting a VIP screening in Akron on Friday, where he’ll walk the red carpet with the other stars of "Trainwreck," an R-rated movie he filmed last summer shortly after announcing he was returning to the Cavs.
Unlike last July 11, when his essay in Sports Illustrated touched Cleveland fans and changed the NBA’s landscape, James wasn’t the star attraction during this summer’s free agency period. He ended any suspense about his future in Cleveland by saying he several times during the past season that he intends to end his career with the Cavs.
So while his agreement with the Cavs is not a surprise, it does give him future flexibility and the ability to make more money next summer when the league’s new TV deal kicks in. The $24 billion package is expected to escalate the salary cap by millions.
The 30-year-old James led the Cavs to the NBA Finals in his first season back. Cleveland lost in six games to Golden State, but through no fault of James.
Forced to carry the scoring load following injuries to All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving and forward Kevin Love, James was brilliant against the Warriors, averaging 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists — the best statistical line in finals history.
But it wasn’t enough, and after dropping to 2-4 in the finals, James said he’s more motivated than ever to bring a championship to Cleveland, which has gone without a major pro sports title since 1964.