LeBron James has declined the player option on his contract and will become a free agent on July 1, his agent Rich Paul has confirmed to ESPN – but he’s sure to return to the Cavaliers next season.
Despite opting out, James, 31, can re-sign with the Cavaliers and said last week he has no intention of leaving Cleveland for a second time.
“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.”
As a free agent, James can take advantage of the NBA’s salary cap spike and sign a contract that gives him a bigger salary than the one that was on his option.
The four-time MVP was scheduled to make $24m next season. By opting out, James can sign a new contract worth about $27.5m.
James was named the 2016 finals MVP as the Cavaliers won their first championship in franchise history earlier this month. But he won’t be going to the Olympics this summer – “I could use the rest,” James said last week.
James has made six consecutive trips to the NBA finals.
This article was written by Guardian sport, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 29th June 2016 14.20 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010