LeBron unlikely to sign new contract until next year

Published 11:29 pm Saturday, August 8, 2009

AKRON — LeBron James is unlikely to accept a contract extension from the Cleveland Cavaliers until after the 2009-10 season, when he can become a free agent.

At an event to unveil his latest signature sneaker for Nike, James, who has given no indication he plans to leave the Cavs, made his strongest comments yet about his future. The NBA’s reigning MVP said he signed a three-year contract in 2006 with an option so he would have more flexibility once it expires.

‘‘I signed a contract in 2006 with an option,’’ he said. ‘‘It would make no sense for me to sign that contract if I didn’t keep my options open. I’ll let you fill in the blanks.’’

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The Cavaliers offered James a contract extension last month. The 24-year-old said his agent, Leon Rose, and Cavs general manager Danny Ferry have had ‘‘a great conversation.’’

James doesn’t expect his future to be a distraction for the Cavs, who acquired All-Star center Shaquille O’Neal this offseason.