James, who opted out out of his contract earlier this month, re-signed with his hometown team for one year, joining fellow, former, free agents Kevin Love, Iman Shumpert and Tristan Thompson.
Here’s what you need to know about James’ latest basketball decision:
1. The One-Year Deal is Worth $23 Million
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst was the first to report James’ contract signing on Thursday afternoon. It’s also a raise for the four-time NBA MVP.
According to The Sporting News, the latest contract is $1 million more than the contract James just opted out of earlier this month. It’s also a sign that the Ohio native may be looking to take more one-and-one deals in the future. The salary cap for the 2015-16 is already set for $70 million but a large influx of TV money in 2016-17 sets the cap estimate about about $89 million. That means more money available and more raises for players like James.
2. It Also Includes a Player Option for a Second Year
Although he likely won’t opt in for the second year, particularly with the NBA salary cap set to skyrocket in the 2016-17 season, James does have the choice to add an extra year to the current contract. ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported that the player option is worth another $24 million.
Business Insider did the math and, if James continues to opt in and out of these one-year contracts, he’s slated to take in an extra $110 million by waiting until 2017 to sign a max deal.
3. James Opted Out of the Final Year of His Two-Year Contract
It wasn’t exactly a surprise when James announced that he was opting out of the final year of his two-year contract with Cleveland on July 1. It was the third time in six years James was considered an unrestricted free agent after moving to Miami in 2010 and then back to the Cavaliers last summer.
James had a player option worth $21.5 million for next season but, as per usual, the move to opt out was a chance for the standout to make more money and allow him to, eventually, sign a long-term deal at some point. The decision also allowed the Cavs to deal with their other free agents and allowed James to, essentially, wait and see who would be on the roster if and when he decided to return.
4. He Was Always Expected to Return to Cleveland
No one really ever expected James to leave Cleveland.
James wanted to be in Cleveland, he wanted to play for the Cavaliers, heck, he even wrote an essay explaining all of those reasons last summer. He was not going to walk away after just one year.
So, once the team agreed to new deals with Kevin Love, Iman Shumpert and Tristan Thompson, it was really only a mater of time before James joined the pack and officially announced his intention to return. Love inked a five-year, $110 million deal with the Cavs earlier this week and cited a “very honest” talk with James that influenced his return:
He happened to be in Los Angeles the same time I was so we just, you know, talked everything out and a lot of stuff was very honest and we came to a really good place and we agreed on a lot of things
5. James’ Stat Line Exploded in the NBA Finals
The Cavs may not have won an NBA title this season, falling in six games to the Golden State Warriors, but the team was at least competitive this postseason, fighting through a seemingly endless barrage of injuries. Why? James.
In true leadership fashion, James’ put his team on his shoulders, leading the squad throughout the Finals with a state line that had many calling for him to win the MVP Award despite losing the championship. By the end of the series James had scored 40 or more points three times and recorded a triple-double in Games 2 and 5.
According to ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh, James accounted for 38.3% of the Cavs points int he Finals, second only to Michael Jordan in the 1993 Finals.