As expected, LeBron James declined his $24 million player option for next season, and will once again be a free agent this summer.
King James has already stated that he plans to re-sign in Cleveland, and help the Cavs defend their NBA championship.
LeBron James will not exercise his player option with the Cavs for next season, according to agent Rich Paul. Deadline was Wed @ midnight
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 29, 2016
James, who had to inform the Cavs of his decision by Wednesday at midnight, will become a free agent July 1 for the third straight summer. He was slated to earn $24 million next season.
On Tuesday night, however, Paul gave no insight into what type of contract his client would eventually sign with the Cavs or what the timetable is for his expected return to Cleveland. […] If LeBron James wants his now-customary one-year contract plus a player option with the Cavaliers, he stands to leave $3 million on the table compared to the one-year deal he could get elsewhere. Now with teams set to spend with the salary cap rising to a reported $94 million, James dips his Nikes back into a free agency pool that includes Kevin Durant. And again, James will have a major impact on the balance of power in the NBA and could sign a deal that would give him a max salary of roughly $30 million.
If James takes another one-year contract from the Cavs, he would make $27.5 million for next season. This is because the Cavs don’t have salary-cap space and don’t have James’ full Bird rights, which limits the size of the raise he can get.