Since returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2013, LeBron James has technically been a free agent three different times. To keep his options open, James has signed a series of short-term deals that feature player options that allow him flexibility financially and organizationally. Although James is signed through 2019 on his current deal, he has the ability to opt out this summer to either sign a new deal with Cleveland or another team should he decide to do so.
Ex-Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin, who signed off on several of these types of deals while he was in Cleveland, said it’s “unsustainable” to franchises while featuring as a guest on The Bill Simmons Podcast:
“When LeBron is on a one-year contract every year, you don’t get to be sustainable, you don’t get to be Danny Ainge. You don’t get to play that game, those aren’t the cards you’re being dealt. You have to win right now and put (LeBron) in a position and a frame of mind where he belives he’s going to win in the future. Everything that happens because he’s on one-year deals for the absolute maximum amount of money is an unsustainable formula. So to some degree, he puts himself in that situation as well. I think he appreciates that because it’s what gives him to ability to make make Cleveland do what they did (at the trade deadline). He doesn’t care if Cleveland has nothing left if he walks. He cares that Cleveland believes in him enough to invest in him.”