Down 3-2 in the NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers are desperately fighting for the postseason lives, but the front-office likely has an eye on LeBron James’ impending free agency this summer.
James has given every indication that he plans to stick around Ohio for the remainder of his career, but says now is not the time to contemplate his future. Once the NBA’s new TV money kicks in after next season, LeBron stands to make roughly $7 million more annually on a four-year max deal.
Per the NEOMG:
“Ha, I haven’t even thought about that until you just said something,” James said. “I’ll tackle all of that after the season, but, yeah, I’m happy where I’m at.”
Winning a championship in Cleveland was one of his stated reasons to return to the Cavs after four years in Miami. He also said previously he wants to “build something great in the present and the future” and finish his career in Cleveland. […] Nevertheless, James must choose this summer whether or not to pick up the one-year, $21.57 million player option on his current contract. Virtually no one – the Cavs included – expects him to do so, which means that at least for a few days James would be a free agent.
James’ contract last season was designed with two basic principles in mind: flexibility to maximize his worth when NBA revenues explode because of the new TV contract, and, secondarily, leverage to ensure the front office is building around him properly. […] Those principles remain in place, and leverage is no small thing for James given the enormous impact he makes on any team. The Heat, for example, went to four straight Finals with him and missed the playoffs this season.