LeBron James, in a rather unsurprising move, has declined his player option for next season according ESPN’s Chris Broussard. Per Broussard, who cited LeBron’s agent Rich Paul as a quoted source, there is no timetable for James to sign a new deal with the Cavs. LeBron has previously stated his intention of remaining in Cleveland and helping the Cavs retain their world title.
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
On 7/1, James becomes free agent for 3rd straight year. Tho James said he'll return 2 Cavs, Paul gave no timetable for signing of new deal— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 29, 2016
What comes next is the interesting part. With the cap rising, James could decide to cash in now and sign a five-year max with the Cavs that would pay him a total of $178 million if he were to receive 7.5 percent raises each year of the deal. He also could sign another two-year deal with a player option for the second year that allow him to become a free agent again next summer. The latter option makes more sense considering the cap is expected to rise to over $100 million next summer and, at 32, next summer could be James’ more realistic chance of signing a full max contract.
During this offseason, James’ contract situation won’t be the one causing GM David Griffin and and his staff extra stress. There will be no LeBron free agent tour and no worry about him bolting. He may not sign right way, but he will and that’s really all that matters. Like Kevin Durant, LeBron can make a lot more money overall by signing a ‘1+1’ deal and signing a max next summer.
For the Cavs, negotiating deals with J.R. Smith, Matthew Dellavedova and others is their most complicated task. LeBron will become a free agent at midnight on July 1 and can sign a new deal on July 9.