LeBron James delivered the city of Cleveland its first sporting title since 1964 – and tamped down on suggestions that could he leave this summer.
“I love it here in Cleveland. I have no intentions of leaving,” James told ESPN during the Cavaliers’ championship parade. “There are some technicalities to take care of I’ll leave up to my agent. That’s right from the horse’s mouth.”
James was unanimously voted the NBA finals MVP for leading the Cavaliers to a seven-game victory over the Warriors from a 3-1 deficit. He can opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent this summer, but insisted on Wednesday he wanted to stay with the Cavs.
He will all but certainly decline the option on 29 June so he can get a raise from the Cavs. He can make upwards of $30m next season under a new contract.
“This is the happiest time in my life right now,” James said.
Hundreds of thousands of fans, some who had slept on sidewalks overnight to get a good view, packed downtown Cleveland on Tuesday as the team were honored with a championship parade.
James, who was born in nearby Akron, became a free agent after the 2009-10 season and took “his talents to South Beach” and the Miami Heat. Some Cavaliers fans burned his jersey in the streets and owner Dan Gilbert called James’ move a “cowardly betrayal.” But he returned in 2014 to deliver a title to the region where he’s lived for 27 of his 31 years.
On Sunday, he became only the third player to record a triple-double in Game 7 of the Finals, joining Jerry West in 1969 and James Worthy in 1988.
This article was written by Guardian sport, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 22nd June 2016 18.12 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010