We all knew it was coming, and now it’s finally happened: LeBron James is returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers. And once again, LeBron is signing a two-year deal with an opt-out after the first year:
Agent Rich Paul tells Cavs today LeBron will sign 2 yr deal with player option for 2nd year. $22.97 million 1st season, $24 mill 2nd year
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 9, 2015
This is similar to the deal he took last summer, and LeBron is doing it to maximize his earning potential. With the cap set to skyrocket to around $90 million next summer, he’ll opt out again and get a new deal. He could take a full max deal then, or he could take another two-year deal with an opt-out and then take a longer deal when the cap jumps up again to close to $110 million in 2017.
The plan for James this offseason was always to wait back and see what the Cavaliers did before re-signing. Kevin Love and Iman Shumpert are back, and Tristan Thompson is expected to sign a new deal soon, although there’s still some haggling over the amount of that new deal.
Mo Williams was added to the mix, but Matthew Dellavedova and J.R. Smith could still be brought back. Cleveland is set to have an enormous payroll with unprecedented luxury tax payments, and the Cavaliers may still use Brendan Haywood‘s bloated $10.5 million non-guaranteed contract to add another useful player and even more salary.
With LeBron and Co. back for more, Cleveland is set to rule the Eastern Conference once again.