NBA Finals MVP, Cleveland hero and veritable ‘king’ of the world, Lebron James, has chosen to exercise his player option for the 2016-2017 season, foregoing a $24 million contract with the Cavaliers, according to his agent, +.

The move appears to be nothing more than a formality for James, who is seeking to be paid as the NBA’s best player, while maintaining pledge to remain in Cleveland, 40 miles from his hometown of Akron, Ohio.

“I love it here in Cleveland,” James said during the Cavs Championship parade last week. “I have no intentions of leaving. There are some technicalities to take care of I’ll leave up to my agent. That’s right from the horse’s mouth.”

It is the third consecutive season King James has tested free agency, after alerting Cleveland’s front office of his decision to opt out ahead of the deadline to do so, which would have expired at midnight Wednesday.


A week of sports news in your in-box.
We find the sports news you need to know, so you don't have to.

James is coming off the second season of his return to Cleveland, which promptly ended a 53-year title drought for the city, reaching his sixth consecutive NBA Finals, while serving as a catalyst to a historic comeback that ended with his third championship crown.

After averaging 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and 8.9 assists in the Finals rematch with the Golden State Warriors, James prompted the unavoidable question: Is he the G.O.A.T?

Teammate Kyrie Irving certainly seemed to think so.

“Best player on the planet,” Irving said of James after the Cavs clinched the title in Game 7.

Coming off a regular season where he posted averages of 25.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.8 assists, James saw Cleveland’s ‘Big 3’ –comprised of himself, Irving and Kevin Love — finally find a rhythm on the floor. Roles were established and each player rose to the ocassion with the season on the line.

Love’s defensive effort against Steph Curry in the final minute of Game 7 helped clinch the title for Cleveland, coming just after Irving hit the shot of his life, a step-back 3, right in Curry’s face to break a 89-89 tie with 53 seconds left to give the Cavs a lead they would never relinquish.


If Curry answered with a triple of his own at the other end, we may have quickly forgotten Irving’s ice-in-his-veins jumper. Instead, Love dispelled the rumblings that he was a lazy, lackadaisical defender, by keeping Curry from getting a good look at the basket, twice, in one of the Warrior’s final offensive sequences of the season.

“When (Curry) threw it up, he usually shoots it and looks at you.” Love told Late Night’s Stephen Colbert, “So I kinda had to look back and think, ‘OK, he’s not looking at me, I contested the shot, I think I’m OK.’ And he missed it short,”


James is eager to return and defend the title he fought so long to capture. Turning 32 in December, James understands that his window for elite play is beginning to close.

The Cavs will undoubtedly resign the world best basketball player. The only question remaining is: For how much?

Read more about:

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

Listen to the uInterview Podcast!
Get the most-revealing celebrity conversations with the uInterview podcast!