LeBron James is regarded as the best player in the world and was the No. 1 free agent this summer. Now, he is looking out for No. 1.
James plans to sign a two-year, $42.2 million contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, a person familiar with details of the deal told USA TODAY Sports. That will allow the NBA’s biggest star to take advantage of the league’s upcoming TV deal, which is expected to increase the value of max contracts.
The person also said this is strictly a business decision. James still is intent on finishing his career with the Cavaliers, as he said in his Sports Illustrated essay about the decision. The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the deal.
Rich Paul of Klutch Sports is James’ agent, and Mark Termini leads contract negotiations for the Klutch.
James could have taken a four-year contract worth more than $88 million from the Cavs. But he now will be able to negotiate a better contract in two years and also has the choice to opt out after one season to renegotiate next summer. Player options only can come before the final season of a contract, another reason for the two-year deal.
The TV component is important and valuable. The NBA and players share basketball-related income (BRI) at a near 50-50 split, and TV revenue is included in BRI. The higher the BRI, the more money for players.