LeBron James signed his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers today, and according to Brian Windhorst, it is a two year deal worth $42.1 million.
After Friday’s splashly announcement that he was returning home to Cleveland, there’s no way LeBron leaves again, right? According to Windhorst, the purpose for signing the shorter term deal is that James anticipates the salary cap going up greatly when the league signs a new TV deal. James is taking some risk because he could sign a longer term deal with guaranteed money, but LeBron would have to fall off greatly to not be worth the max in two years, since he is worth so much more than max now.
The article also notes that “[a]s part of the deal, James will have an option to become a free agent next summer but is fully committed to the Cavs long term.”
You know what this sounds like? Despite the public statements about working things out with Dan Gilbert, LeBron is still making sure he is the King and maintains his power. While everyone is lauding his move back to Cleveland on the going home narrative (and hey, I’m sure that was part of it), let’s face it, this was a good deal for LeBron from a basketball perspective. The Heat looked like a one-man team by the NBA Finals, and aren’t getting younger. If the young talent in Cleveland looks like it is coming together, then, probably, no worries.
If some of the moves that LeBron – the de facto GM – wants to see don’t happen, or the young talent doesn’t develop … would he consider bolting in 2015 (the Knicks will have cap room!) or 2016 (everyone is already freeing up cap room for Kevin Durant!)?
Well, when you are the best basketball player in the world and have the power to drive the front office decisions, and the power to influence and control your future, why not use it? Of course, after the way that this decision was sold, leaving Cleveland for a second time would be a stunning move, even if LeBron has kept his power and options to do so wide open.
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