2 Cavs players believe Cleveland has best chance at LeBron James
LeBron James has a heady decision to make, as most hoops fans know. Will he take his talents elsewhere, or will the King remain in Northeast Ohio, where he’s played 11 seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers? The deadline for “The Decision 3.0” falls on June 29th, which leaves James with just a few more days to mull it over.
Over the past few weeks, experts and analysts from all media outlets have weighed in with their opinions as to where James might land. Some feel he’s headed to Los Angeles, while others mention Philadelphia and Houston. No one knows for sure just yet, and this debate continues to polarize the sporting world. However, two members of Cleveland’s 2017-18 team (a player and staffer) think they have the best odds.
“In the past week, two members of the 2017-18 Cavaliers — a player and another staff member — relayed to ESPN that they believe Cleveland has the best chance of any team to land LeBron,” ESPN’s Dave McMenamin writes in his recent article.
The Cavs may not be the favorites to re-sign James, but they can offer him a five-year contract worth 35 percent of the salary cap, with 8 percent raises each season, according to a report from businessinsider.com. Other teams could give him only four-year deals with 5 percent increases. Only a few teams will be able to create enough cap space to sign James outright this summer to a max salary, which will be approximately $35 million for next season.
James’ choice of team may not be about money alone, though. In fact, shortly after the 2017-18 season was over, he noted that family and winning would be two of the determining factors in his decision.
“My family. That’s all that matters,” James told cleveland.com. “I want to continue to win at the highest level, because I know I can still do it as an individual, and then my family. My family is what’s most important to me, more than anything.”
James and his wife, Savannah, are both from Akron, Ohio — roughly 30 miles South of Cleveland. They have three children now: Lebron Jr (13 years of age and entering eighth grade), Bryce (11 years old), and three-year-old Zhuri.
“James’ oldest son is 13 and entering the eighth grade,” McMenamin writes. James could opt out of the final year of his contract with the Cavs on Friday and sign with the Cavs on a one-plus-one deal — the first year guaranteed with the second year being a player option — and align his personal decision as to whether to leave Cleveland for good or not with the same time Bronny will be choosing which high school to enroll in.”
James, now 33 years of age, won’t be seeking elaborate free-agency pitch meetings this summer, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.
“There won’t be a dog-and-pony show,” one source familiar with James’ thinking told ESPN.
Whether or not James will stay in Cleveland remains to be seen. He’s brought loads of prosperity to the Cavs, including their first championship title in 2016.
“I’ve tried to put this franchise at a level that is always seen in a positive light,” James told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols on the eve of Game 1 of the Finals. “From a basketball standpoint, from a social standpoint, from a brand standpoint. I get a lot of the light and the headlines, but I’m one; as long as I’m here playing for this franchise, when you see the Cavaliers, I want you to think of prestige and a great organization.”
Without a doubt, James has been the driving force behind Cleveland’s recent success. Whether he stays or goes, his legacy has already been set in stone, as they say. Will he decide to move on, or is riding off into a Wine and Gold sunset still in the proverbial cards?