Lebron James may be in the middle of one of the most intense playoff series of his life, an NBA Finals matchup against the league’s hottest team this season, the Golden State Warriors, but that doesn’t stop people from wondering what he will do next.
While the series is tied at two games each, Lebron hasn’t put much thought into it just yet. But once the season is over, James will have to decide whether to exercise his one-year $21.57 million player option, a feature of his contract that will allow him to test the waters of free agency for a few days if he delays the decision. While speaking with the Northeast Ohio Media Group, Lebron was asked if he had put much thought into whether or not he wanted to stay in Cleveland after this season.
“Ha, I haven’t even thought about that until you just said something. I’ll tackle all of that after the season, but, yeah, I’m happy where I’m at.”
Game 5 of the heated NBA Finals is today, and James is focused on how he and the Cavaliers can stop Golden State’s Stephen Curry and the rest of the Warriors. Curry and Andre Iguodala each scored 22 points in their 103-82 rout of Cleveland on Thursday night to even the series. Even in Game 3, when Golden State lost to the Cavs after they couldn’t stop Lebron James from scoring 40, Curry scored 27 and had six assists and six rebounds.
Returning to the Cavaliers after this season, no matter which way the NBA Finals turns out, means Lebron would follow up on his earlier statements of wanting to finish his career in Cleveland. After returning to the Cavs after a four-year stint in Miami, Lebron said he wanted to come back so he could “build something great in the present and the future.”
According to Cleveland.com, whether James signs a new short-term deal or picks up the option on his contract, the difference is about $400,000. The report says Lebron would make “roughly $22 million in a new, short-term contract next season, with a player option in 2017 for about $23 million.”
Lebron James started his career with his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers but moved to Miami beginning in 2010 saying he was looking forward to the opportunity to win multiple championships. After winning the championship twice in four seasons, Lebron returned to Cleveland, and James and the Cavs ran to the fifth-best record in the NBA.
[Image via ABC News]