LeBron James Declines $24M Player Option With Cavs
After leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA title earlier this month, LeBron James has declined a player option for the 2016-17 season, according to his agent, Rich Paul.
Though it's extremely unlikely he'll leave, the NBAstar will become a free agent July 1 for the third straight summer. He was slated to earn $24 million next season.
He told ESPN last week, he sas no intentions of leaving Cleveland again. "I love it here in Cleveland. I have no intentions of leaving," James said. "There are some technicalities to take care of I'll leave up to my agent. That's right from the horse's mouth."
According to ESPN, James has begun a process that could see him become the NBA's first $200 million man, and the highest-paid player for a single season in league history in 2017.
The report says James has the option to sign a one-year deal with the Cavs for $27.5 million for next season, which is about $3.3 million less than he could get were he to sign a multiyear deal in which the first year would be worth $30.8 million. Under league rules, the Cavs aren't able to give him the full max next year on a one-year contract.
But, next July, the Cavs would gain James' full rights, putting them in a position to offer James a five-year deal that currently is projected to be worth between $201-205 million.
If that deal is inked, James would become the highest-paid player in league history for the 2017-18 season by earning $35 million, passing Michael Jordan's record of $33 million in 1997-98. James would also become the league's first $40 million per season player in the 2019-20 season.