LeBron James inks new Cleveland deal, resumes title hunt
NBA superstar LeBron James made his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers for next season official Friday, signing a new contract for the hometown club he has vowed to revamp into a champion.
The deal is reportedly for two years at $46.9 million (42.1 million euro) and would allow James to opt out next year as he did last month to boost his salary and hold leverage to ensure the Cavaliers spent on top talent to make title runs.
James is expected to wait until new television contract money sends the salary cap skyrocketing and sign a five-year deal worth $200 million in 2016, what would be the richest deal in league history.
"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," said general manager David Griffin.
"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."
James led Cleveland to last month`s NBA Finals, where the injury-hit Cavaliers were beaten by the Golden State Warriors. Forward Kevin Love suffered a separated left shoulder in the first round of the playoffs and star guard Kyrie Irving suffered a left knee injury in the first game of the finals.
No team from Cleveland has won a crown since 1964, the longest such drought of any American city and one James is determined will end.
Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James played for Cleveland to start his NBA career but left in 2010 for Miami and powered the Heat into four NBA Finals in a row, twice winning the NBA crown. James opted to leave Miami last year and rejoined the Cavaliers, making his vow to turn the team into a champion.
James averaged 25.3 points, third-best in the NBA, with 7.4 assists and 6.0 rebounds a game last season.
Also Friday, the Cavaliers signed guard Mo Williams to a contract. He played alongside James in the superstar`s first stint in Cleveland from 2008-2010 and averaged 16.2 points, 5.1 assists and 3.1 rebounds for the Cavaliers over parts of three seasons.