If you were annoyed by the attention the media lavished on LeBron James over the past few weeks — which, full disclosure, has not been lacking on our site, either — you probably didn’t voice your displeasure by abstaining from consuming it. After all, you’re here now. Obviously, as Ty Duffy pointed out, a bunch of the noise was really dumb. But, if the media circus did truly get under your skin, you might want to plan a camping trip the first week of July every year, because this whole shebang is gonna be an annual exercise.
As we learned from Brian Windhorst yesterday, LeBron signed a two-year deal for which he can opt out as early as next year. According to the report, LeBron’s structured the deal in that manner to capitalize on greater earning power when the salary cap balloons in 2016 after the NBA inks its new TV rights deal. While LeBron may be entering this arrangement with the best of intentions, Jason Lisk iterated on the power and leverage this grants the King over old foe Daniel Gilbert.
Teams are already maneuvering to make a run for Kevin Durant in 2016; if the worst case scenario happens in Cleveland — the team fails to land a veteran jump shooter, Kyrie isn’t ready for the big stage, Andrew Wiggins doesn’t develop or gets traded for someone who fails to work out, etc. — and LeBron finds himself again sharing an unsustainable proportion of the load, it’s impossible to be certain he’d adhere to the patience he vows to test.
So, as jubilant as Cleveland fans are with the Coming Home narrative — which they should be! — they should, in the back of their minds, understand the possibility that LeBron bolts if the sequel is a tire fire. And, even if were to LeBron stay there for the rest of his career, it’s a good bet he’ll at least make the Cavs sweat it out once every year or two. He’ll continue to give himself options. It’s not like we’d look away.
Related: LeBron Free Agency Exhibits the Absurdity of the 2014 Sports Media Circus
Related: LeBron James Keeps His Leverage Over Dan Gilbert, Can Opt Out of Cavs Deal in Summer of 2015
Related: LeBron Mentioned Some Teammates to SI, Neglected Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett