The NBA Finals were not even over before the speculation started and ramped up after the Cavaliers;’ win: LeBron James said he wanted to come home to Cleveland and bring the area a title, he’s done that now, he may bolt to play somewhere else again. Miami, Los Angeles, wherever; he had wanderlust and could be on the move again.
Not this year.
Here is what LeBron told the Cleveland Plain Dealer just before the parade through downtown Cleveland Wednesday:
“I love it here. I love being here. I love my teammates,” James told cleveland.com, moments before he boarded a float at The Q for the Cavs’ championship parade through downtown Cleveland. “Obviously my agent will take care of all the logistical things but, I’m happy. I’ve got no plans to go nowhere at this point.”
“This is the happiest time in my life right now,” James said.
LeBron confirmed the same thing to other outlets.
Expect James not to pick up his player option for next season — not because he wants to leave but because he wants to get paid. LeBron’s option would pay him $24 million next season, while a new max contract would be worth $30.8 million (with the salary cap at $94 million as the league just suggested).
Also, expect LeBron to sign another 2-year deal with a player option after the first year — both because the salary cap is going to go up again, and because it helps keep his options open and therefore leverage on owner Dan Gilbert and GM David Griffin (to both spend to keep this team a winner and do what LeBron wants).
It’s not crazy to think LeBron will leave Cleveland again at some point to play with friends in another city and chase rings with another franchise.
But it’s crazy to think he didn’t want to come back home to Cleveland for a victory lap season. And to try and repeat.