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Cavaliers Sign Lebron James To 2 Years $42 Million

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  • key2win
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    LeBron James of Cleveland Cavaliers not planning to enter free agency in 2015 - ESPN

    AKRON, Ohio -- LeBron James signed a contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers that is for just two years and includes a clause that could allow him to be a free agent next summer.

    On Friday, though, he said he's not planning to enter free agency again next year.

    "My No. 1 goal is to win a championship here; it'd be the greatest achievement in my life," James said. "I don't plan on going nowhere. I don't have the energy to do it again."

    James spoke before his annual charity event here for school children, which this year included a welcome home rally attended by more than 25,000 people at the University of Akron's football stadium.

    James signed the short-term deal with the Cavs, which can be worth $42 million, with the belief that changes to the salary cap could enable him to significantly increase his salary. The expectation is that the salary cap and max-contract level could jump dramatically in 2016 after new television deals are signed.

    "At the end of the day, I'm a business man as well," James said. "I know what is going on in the league."

    Despite these assurances, the Cavs have been attempting to improve their roster since acquiring James to help cement his long-term commitment. They signed former Miami Heat forwards Mike Miller, whom James called one of his favorite teammates ever, and James Jones.

    They are also attempting to land All-Star Kevin Love in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves and veteran defensive specialist Shawn Marion in a free-agent deal.

    James said even with these moves, he's not expecting the team to come together quickly.

    "Even with the veterans we've brought in, even if we're able to acquire Kevin Love two weeks from now, it's still going to be a process," James said. "I know that firsthand. It was a process when I was in Cleveland. It was a process in Miami. It's going to be a challenge."

    James has been in touch with several of his new teammates and has been active as a recruiter in attempting to add players like Marion and Ray Allen to the Cavs, as well as discussing possibilities with Love.

    He said he's looking forward to being a part of a good and developing team.

    "I love Kyrie [Irving]'s game, I think he can be one of the best point guards in our league," James said.

    "I love the chip on Dion [Waiters]' shoulder. Everyone else sees it as a negative, but I look at it as a positive and I look forward to getting with him. I love how active Tristan [Thompson] is. You give me nine Andy [Varejaos] and I'll be the 10th guy ... I understand it's going to be a process. I'm going to have to teach and lead and inspire those guys."

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  • key2win
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    LeBron James' deal with Cleveland Cavaliers for 2 years, $42.1 million - ESPN

    With an eye toward maximizing the future of the salary cap, LeBron James finalized his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday.

    James signed a two-year, $42.1 million deal, sources familiar with the process told ESPN.com, with the goal of re-signing with the Cavs before the 2016-17 season when a new television deal is expected to create a large jump in value of the maximum contract.

    As part of the deal, James will have an option to become a free agent next summer but is fully committed to the Cavs long term, sources said.

    Cleveland officially announced Saturday that James had signed with the team, but did not provide any terms of the contract in a release, citing league policy.

    "We could not be happier to welcome LeBron James home," Cavaliers general manager David Griffin said in a statement Saturday. "Yesterday, LeBron, through his essay, told us he wasn't going anywhere except Cleveland and that 'Cleveland is where he always believed he would finish his career.' These words and commitment put all of us, including LeBron, in the best position to build our franchise the right way and achieve the kind of goals we all know are possible. Expectations will be at the highest levels but no one should expect immediate and automatic success.

    "We can't wait to get started and look forward to his leadership, on and off the court, for many years to come."

    Depending on how the new television contracts are put together, the salary cap is projected to leap to as high as $80 million in 2016. There is also uncertainty with the current collective bargaining agreement starting in 2017, another reason James wanted to keep his long-term options open when it comes to the structure of his contract.

    James' off-court earnings, which top $40 million per year according to some estimates, allow for him to take some short-term risk to maximize long-term earnings.

    James has earned $129 million over his 11-year career but has only earned the max salary three times during that span.

    Meanwhile, ESPN.com reported Friday that Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love is naturally "intrigued" by the idea of playing alongside James and would welcome a trade to the Cavaliers now that Cleveland has managed to sign him. Any team trading for Love has to feel strongly that it can keep the All-Star power forward before surrendering quality assets for him.

    Love has made it clear to Wolves management since the season ended that he is determined to become a free agent at the first opportunity in July 2015, which has put Minnesota in a position where it has to strongly consider trading him or risk losing him for nothing next summer.

    One source close to the situation told ESPN.com's Marc Stein that the contract structure James agreed to is unlikely to deter Love from signing a new deal with the Cavs in the event Cleveland completes a trade for him.

    James' Cleveland-based agent Rich Paul and lead negotiator Mark Termini structured his new deal.

    While his representatives handled the finer points of his contract, James himself was in Brazil on Saturday where he plans to attend Sunday's World Cup final.

    Though his signing was the biggest thing in the basketball world this week, James, who is a minority investor in soccer club Liverpool of the English Premier League, said the World Cup final is a bigger deal than the NBA Finals "in the sense that it's the world and you have so many countries here."

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  • key2win
    replied
    LeBron James says he is returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers - ESPN

    LeBron James is heading back to Cleveland.

    The four-time league MVP told SI.com on Friday that he is returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Sources told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard the deal is expected to be four years for the maximum of $88 million.

    "My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball," James told SI.com in a first-person essay. "I didn't realize that four years ago. I do now."

    For James, it marks a complete turnaround from his original free-agent decision in 2010, when he bolted Cleveland for the Miami Heat, creating a Big Three with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh that went on to win two NBA titles in their four years together.

    "The hardest thing to leave is what I built with those guys," James said. "I've talked to some of them and will talk to others. Nothing will ever change what we accomplished."

    James informed Wade of his decision, sources told ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst. Bosh, who is out of the country, was informed through his agent, sources said.

    The Heat were in the mix for James again this time around. Team president Pat Riley traveled to Las Vegas to meet with James on Wednesday in an attempt to lure him back to Miami after the All-Star opted out of his contract following the team's NBA Finals loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

    But James said no to Riley and the Heat, instead choosing a Cleveland team that picked him No. 1 overall in the 2003 draft out of St. Vincent-St. Mary, where he starred as a high school player in his native Akron, Ohio.

    "Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It's where I walked," James told SI.com. "It's where I ran. It's where I cried. It's where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I'm their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can."

    James spoke with Riley and owner Micky Arison on Friday morning on the phone before James' first-person essay was posted, sources said. ESPN.com reported incorrectly earlier that the Heat did not know of the decision until it was posted and were not expecting it. The Heat had left their meeting with James earlier this week in Las Vegas feeling good about their chances to retain him, even if it was on a short-term deal.

    "I'm not having a press conference or a party," James said in his essay. "After this, it's time to get to work."

    The decision certainly was cause for celebration in Cleveland, however. The Cavaliers have been mired in four losing seasons since their trip to the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2010, James' last year with the team.

    The Cavs had all but sold out of season tickets less than eight hours after James' announcement.

    A team source confirmed to ESPN.com's Darren Rovell that the Cavaliers capped season-ticket sales at slightly more than 12,000 tickets Friday, leaving roughly 8,000 tickets per game to be used for group sales and ticket plans.

    Rovell also reported that the Cavaliers have confirmed they are not raising season-ticket prices in the wake of the news. The team sold $1 million in ticket sales Wednesday on speculation alone, a source told Rovell.

    Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who saw James earlier this week at the LeBron James Skills Academy basketball camp, also commented.

    "LeBron has a huge heart,'' Krzyzewski told ESPN.com's Andy Katz. "This decision is a great decision for him because he's following his heart and he loves his home."

    Nike, James' biggest endorser, released a statement that said: "Like basketball fans around the globe, we are excited to support one of the world's greatest athletes as he enters the next chapter of his career. We look forward to seeing LeBron step back on the court in Cleveland."

    In the days leading up to LeBron's decision, much was made of the infamous letter that Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert had issued in the wake of James' departure in 2010, calling James a "coward" for leaving. James addressed the letter in his essay.

    "I've met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man. We've talked it out," James said. "Everybody makes mistakes. I've made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?"

    "I'm thrilled with the news," new Cavaliers coach David Blatt told ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman. "It's exciting for the team, the state and for basketball. Life is full of surprises."

    Reaction to James' decision was decidedly different in Miami than in Cleveland.

    Riley issued a statement Friday evening, saying: "While I am disappointed by LeBron's decision to leave Miami, no one can fault another person for wanting to return home. The last four years have been an incredible run for South Florida, HEAT fans, our organization and for all of the players who were a part of it. LeBron is a fantastic leader, athlete, teammate and person, and we are all sorry to see him go."

    James has spoken with former Heat teammate and free-agent forward Mike Miller about joining him in Cleveland, a source said.

    James spent seven seasons with the Cavaliers, averaging 27.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists and leading them in 2007 to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Spurs. The goal for him now will be to get there again with a Cleveland team that boasts All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving and former Kansas star Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 pick in last month's NBA draft.

    Irving tweeted about his new teammate Friday, writing: "Welcome home @KingJames."

    Of Irving and James, Krzyzewski told Katz: "That will be a great, great duo ... LeBron is a brilliant player and Kyrie is really smart, two players with great knowledge of the game and understanding of the game."

    James said he knows how hard it is to win a championship and that he is "realistic" about the team's hopes next season -- but optimistic.

    My patience will get tested. I know that," James said. "I'm going into a situation with a young team and a new coach. I will be the old head. But I get a thrill out of bringing a group together and helping them reach a place they didn't know they could go. I see myself as a mentor now and I'm excited to lead some of these talented young guys."

    Las Vegas sports books quickly adjusted their odds to win the 2015 championship. The Las Vegas Superbook made the Cavs the outright favorites at 3-1, while dropping the Heat's odds all the way down to 100-1. The MGM moved the Cavs down to 7-2, co-favorites with the Spurs. William Hill and the Wynn sports books both moved the Cavs to 9-2.

    Two months ago, the Cavaliers could be found as high as 60-1 to win the title, but money poured in over the last three weeks after James opted out of his contract with Miami. While the majority of wagers were small in size, the MGM, Nevada's largest sports book, told ESPN.com that it took a $1,000 bet on the Cavs at 40-1. Sports book operator CG Technology said it took "some higher dollar amounts from respected guys" on the Cavs at 30-1.

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  • key2win
    replied
    I am glad he went back to the Cavaliers. It worked out well for everyone.

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  • jwgreen68
    replied
    Let the love fest between ESPN and the Cavaliers start.

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  • jsab4807
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  • schwood
    started a topic Cavaliers Sign Lebron James To 2 Years $42 Million

    Cavaliers Sign Lebron James To 2 Years $42 Million

    So, does this mean it is official? I guess not until he actually signs a deal. After he gets back from the World Cup Finals!

    LeBron James says he is returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers - ESPN
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