NBA Free Agency is just days away from opening, and while the Kevin Durant sweepstakes have been everyone’s primary concern, he’s no longer the biggest name who will officially be on the market. LeBron James has opted out of his contract, and will officially be a free agent on July 1.
Of course, functionally LeBron James isn’t really a free agent. He just won the NBA title with the Cavaliers, and he’s not going anywhere; it’s simple cap mathematics to make sure he’s paid every possible cent he could be. LeBron’s player option for the 2016-17 season would be for $24 million, and with the rising salary cap, the most he can make now is $27.5 million. It still doesn’t remotely approach what LeBron is worth to Cleveland, which is why you won’t hear any anonymous sources from the team’s camp grumbling about why James won’t take a long term deal.
He’ll almost certainly sign another two-year deal once free agency opens, once again with the second year as a player option so he can do the same thing when the cap rises even more next offseason. Now that they finally have confidence that LeBron is sticking around, the Cavs are happy to pay any price.