As expected, LeBron James opted out of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers after bringing a title to his home state. James will officially become an unrestricted free agent this Friday, and the move was reported by ESPN’s Chris Broussard, who cited LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, as a source.
Cavs fans shouldn’t worry because LeBron has no intentions of going anywhere. What his intention is, however, is to sign a contract for as much money as possible due to the rise in the salary cap. With the cap set to jump to $94 million, James has some serious earning potential. With a tenure that exceeds 10-years, James is considered a tier three player and can top out with a salary of $30.8 million in 2016-17. The Cavaliers, however, will be unable to offer LeBron the full amount because they don’t have full Bird Rights since he’s only spent two years in Cleveland. Instead of the $30.8 million, Cleveland is only able to offer James a four-year deal that tops out at about $27.5 million a season.
History is cyclical, and the last two contracts James has signed have been two years with a player option for the second. The odds of him doing that again are just as great since the salary cap is expected rise again by next year, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY Sports. If it reaches the estimated value of $107 million, James will have a serious payday, and will bring in whatever the max is because Cleveland will have full Bird Rights.
Although the Cavs are unable to match other teams financially, their ownership constructed a championship team that waltzed through the Eastern Conference Playoffs and downed the record-setting Golden State Warriors — James has already expressed his desire to return and defend his crown to Joe Vardon of cleveland.com.