James inks 2-year deal for $47M
Published 9:53 pm Saturday, July 11, 2015
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cavaliers can exhale for another year. They’ve got LeBron James’ signature on a contract.
The four-time MVP, who brought the Cavs back from irrelevancy to the brink of an NBA championship this season, signed his two-year, $47 million deal on Friday. The commitment allows him to maintain financial flexibility and keeps pressure on Cleveland’s front office to keep building.
The deal includes a player option for the 2016-17 season. He finalized the agreement shortly before hosting a private screening for a new movie in which he has a supporting role.
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He’s the unquestioned star with the Cavs, who are thrilled he’ll be back and expect him to complete his career wearing wine and gold.
“LeBron’s re-signing today is a reflection and continuation of his strong, personal commitment to help deliver championships to Northeast Ohio and Cavs fans everywhere,” general manager David Griffin said. “We share this deep level of commitment with him. His impact upon this team, his community and the game are impossible to overstate and we look forward to continuing on our mission together.”
Before the screening for “Trainwreck,” the comedy he co-stars in with Amy Schumer and Bill Hader, James said he’s been pleased with the Cavs’ offseason moves. The team is still in talks with forward Tristan Thompson and may re-sign guard J.R. Smith, who opted out of his deal for next season.
“It’s been good so far, but we have a lot of work to do,” said James, who had the film shown at a movie theater near his home in Akron. “We still got to re-sign Tristan. Hopefully we can bring back J.R. as well and see if there’s some other free agents out there that’d love to come here and play if we’re able to do that. We definitely don’t want to come back the same team. We want to come back better.
“But right now, we’ve been doing so far, so good.”
James’ signing comes a day before the one-year anniversary of his return to Cleveland after spending four seasons in Miami.
The 30-year-old has indicated he will finish his playing career with the Cavs, who went from being a lottery team to Eastern Conference champions in James’ first season back.
James will likely opt out of his contract again next summer so he can cash in when the league’s salary cap jumps thanks to a new $24 billion TV deal.
James averaged 25.3 points, 7.4 assists and 6.0 rebounds in 69 regular-season games. However, his biggest contributions may have come off the floor as his leadership helped instill a belief in a Cleveland team that dropped to the bottom of the league during the four years he was with the Heat.
He scored in double figures in all 69 games, increasing his consecutive double-digit scoring streak to 641 — third-longest in history.
Despite missing 13 games — he sat out two weeks to rest a sore back and knee — he was one of just three players to amass 1,700 points, 500 assists, 400 rebounds and 100 steals.
The 11-time All-Star finished third in the MVP voting, which seemed to motivate him during the postseason.
In 20 playoff games, he averaged 30.1 points, 11.3 rebounds and 8.5 assists, joining Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson as the only players to average at least 30, 11 and 8 in a postseason.
James saved his best for last, dominating the finals but failing to lead the Cavs to a championship as they were beaten in six games by the Golden State Warriors. James averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists, the best statistical performance in finals history.
James was joined at the screening by guard Mo Williams, who signed his two-year contract on Friday. This will be Williams’ second stint with the Cavs. He’ll serve as All-Star Kyrie Irving’s backup, a needed upgrade for the Cavs, who may still re-sign playoff hero Matthew Dellavedova.