LeBron James has agreed to his deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers but it’s not the deal we thought he’d be signing.
According to Brian Windhorst from ESPN.com, the Cavaliers signed James to a two-year deal that could make him a free agent in 2016 if he doesn’t adjust his deal before then.
As part of the deal, James will have an option to become a free agent next summer but is fully committed to the Cavs long term, sources said.
This all begs the question of why LeBron only took a two-year deal over the max four-year. The answer, as Windhorst points out, is that LeBron isn’t willing to handicap the team’s future by taking up a huge amount of money now. It’s something he did in Miami to help make the Big 3 happen and it’s something he’s doing again to make sure Cleveland can continue to add and retain talent that helps them win titles.
Per Windhorst again:
Depending on how the new television contracts are put together, the salary cap is projected to leap to as high as $80 million in 2016. There is also uncertainty with the current collective bargaining agreement starting in 2017, another reason James wanted to keep his long-term options open when it comes to the structure of his contract.
So while it may seem that LeBron is setting himself up for another run at free agency in the near future, his team-friendly contract is actually a lot less sinister than it may appear on the surface. If anything, it’s an economical move that helps the Cavaliers out long-term and serves as the first instance where Cavs fans are just going to have to trust LeBron James and take him for his word.