July 18, 2016, 11:46 am
While LeBron James is technically a free agent, his return to Cleveland is little more than a formality.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reports that the King has told team ownership that he’ll be back.
That’s far from a surprise and even though James has no timetable for signing the deal expect it to go down without a ton of fanfare. Some rumors were swirling earlier in the offseason that had LeBron leaving Cleveland after fulfilling his title promise, but those turned out to be little more than scuttlebutt.
James has obviously earned the right to take his time and is likely weighing the merits of signing a one or multi-year deal. If he were to re-up for one year, he’d make $27.5 million next season. On a multi-year arrangement he could make $30.8 million next year but could forego some future money in the event of more cap increases.
LeBron also happens to be a VP of the Player’s Union, so it stands to reason that he might be one of the first to know about future cap projections or CBA alterations. Given the uproar about Kevin Durant joining Golden State and the blame falling on capped contracts, there could be some changes coming. There’s no rush for LeBron to sign on the dotted line so he’s simply taking some time to vacation with family and weigh his options in the event more information becomes available.
One wrinkle in this is that LeBron shares and agent with the also-unsigned JR Smith. Smith reportedly wants $15 million from the Cavs, which might make for a tight fit when all is said and done.
While Cleveland will surely give LeBron whatever he wants, they’d probably prefer that he signs ASAP so they can sort out their Smith scenario. Either way, the band will probably be back together next year to try and bring consecutive titles to Cleveland.