Posted on August 12, 2016, by Travis Pulver
It is in our nature to believe. We want to believe it’s all going to be okay; that it wasn’t our girlfriend our buddies saw making out with some random guy at the bar. We want to be able to trust that reality television shows are indeed real and that our bosses are honest when they say “your jobs are safe.”
However, experience has told us to be a little wary of what we are told; that seeing is believing. So when LeBron James told fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers that he was coming back, many believed him, more wanted to, but the smart ones knew better.
He left once. What’s going to keep him from moving on again? Now that he’s brought a title to Cleveland, could he be thinking about taking his considerable talents elsewhere?
If he’s serious about staying, what’s the hold up on his contract? Nothing—well, at least not anymore.
James announced Thursday in a video posted to the site Uninterrupted that he would indeed be returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers. It will not be on another one-year deal (technically, they were two-year deals with a player option for the second) but a three-year, $100 million contract (with a player option for the final year).
His excitement in the video was evident:
“I just want to let y’all know I’m re-signing back with the Cleveland Cavaliers, my hometown team,” James said. “I can’t be more excited than this opportunity once again, man, to defend our crown, defend our title. We all know last year as a magical, inspiring — all the words you can come up with — it was an unbelievable season. I just can’t wait to get the group back together — the team, the franchise, more importantly, get everybody together, the fans. Without you guys, without your passion and commitment, we wouldn’t have been able to do what we did this past season….”
As excited as he is to defend the title, he must be just as eager to cash his paychecks. Even though he has been the best player in the NBA for years, next season will be the first where he will be the highest-paid player in the NBA with a salary of $30.9 million (six players are tied for second at $26.5 million). The following year he will become the record holder for highest single-season salary in NBA history ($33.282 million).
Michael Jordan currently holds the mark at $33.14 million which he got from the Chicago Bulls during his final season with the team (1997-98).
He is slated to make $35.6 million for the 2018-19 season but can opt out of his contract at that point if he wants to. Otherwise, he will become an unrestricted free agent following that season (Sportrac).
He is expected to sign the deal next week.
The fact that he is resigning with the Cavaliers is not surprising, but the length of the contract is. He had been working on two-year deals with a player option on the second presumably so he could renegotiate each year and take advantage of the rising salary cap. With the salary cap expected to clear $100 million next summer, most expected him to do a similar deal once again this year and possibly go with a long term deal then.
Instead, it appears he wants to give himself, the team, and the fans a sense of security with a longer contract. He wouldn’t remain unemployed for long if circumstances found him leaving Cleveland, but Cavaliers fans have to be happy knowing for certain their superstar isn’t going anywhere for at least a couple of years.