LeBron basically will be asked to play GM for Cavs this summer
By Steve DelVecchio
LeBron James this summer can opt out of the final year of his two-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but we all know he is not leaving. That doesn’t necessarily mean this will be an uneventful offseason in Cleveland.
In all likelihood, LeBron will opt out of his current contract and sign another two-year deal with a player option for the second year. That will allow him to opt out and sign a potentially massive extension when the salary cap increases after the 2016-2017 season.
As Brian Windhorst of ESPN notes, James likes the idea of keeping the Cavs from getting complacent. Would it be horrible for LeBron’s legacy if he abandoned Cleveland again? Yes. Is he going to leave? Probably not. Is he leaving his options open? You bet. That’s one of the reasons the Cavs are basically deferring to LeBron on all roster decisions.
The Cavs prefer he give a lot of input. In past similar situations, James has skewed toward passive-aggressiveness from the shadows. Taking such a position now would only add to the anxiety the franchise is sure to feel.
LeBron, Kevin Love and J.R. Smith are all expected to opt out of their current deals. Kyrie Irving will enter the first year of a five-year, $90 million contract next season. The Cavs know they’re going to have to spend a lot of money and cough up plenty in luxury tax, but they basically want LeBron to tell them what to do.
One way Cleveland could create some financial flexibility would be to let Love — who will be seeking a max contract if and when he opts out — go elsewhere. When we hear stuff like this about the relationship between Love and James, you have to wonder if that would be a decent idea.
In any event, it seems that the Cavs will have one goal this offseason and beyond — keep LeBron happy. As long as they can do that, they should contend for a title every season.
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