LeBron James Confirms He’s Staying In Cleveland Next Year: ‘I Have No Intention Of Leaving’

LeBron James has finally confirmed what most Cavaliers fans were hoping for. He will be staying in Cleveland next year after leading the team to victory in the 2016 NBA Championships, ESPN reports.

“I love it here in Cleveland. I have no intentions of leaving,” James said to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin during the team’s championship parade in Cleveland. “There are some technicalities to take care of I’ll leave up to my agent. That’s right from the horse’s mouth.”

According to ESPN, James could opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent. USA Today Sports surmises that LeBron will most likely opt out of his current $24 million two-year contract with the Cavaliers to negotiate a more lucrative deal. He could potentially make $30 million next season because of the league’s higher salary cap and TV endorsements.

But based on what he said, the player who is known as “King James” will not be switching teams.

As ESPN notes, when LeBron James became a free agent after his 2009/2010 season, he left Cleveland and moved to Miami to play for the Heat. The move angered Cleveland Cavaliers fans, and there was media coverage of Cleveland fans burning his jersey in the streets. LeBron James won back-to-back championships with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013.

After his stint with the Miami Heat, LeBron James returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers and delivered the championship trophy at the end of his second season with them. Cleveland fans may have burned his jersey six years ago, but now he’s their hero once more. As Cleveland.com notes, this is the first major sports championship trophy the city has won in over 50 years. James was born in Akron, Ohio.

“This is the happiest time in my life right now,” James said to Cleveland.com.

Although there was little doubt that LeBron James would stay with the Cleveland Cavaliers after their 2016 NBA Championship win, there was still speculation from some corners that he might leave Cleveland, Ohio.

Before James squashed the rumors today, there was talk that he could go to the Lakers. As Bleacher Report notes, the Lakers had a disappointing season, ending it 17-65. So with a new head coach in former Golden State Warriors assistant Luke Walton, they’re busy searching for new talent among free agents and 2016 NBA draft picks. They won’t be getting LeBron James, though.

Some even predicted that he could return to the Miami Heat, but James has said the negativity he received from Miami after he left is what motivated him to go so hard for a championship with the Cavs.

According to Deadspin, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin revealed LeBron James’ secret motivation in an interview after Game 7 against the Warriors.

“[James] told me that when he left Miami and people who he thought he had strong, trusting relationships with – he said, I’m not going to name names, but someone told me that ‘you’re making the biggest mistake of your career,” McMenamin said.

“And he said it really hurt him. Basically, he felt taken for granted. ‘Look, I just gave you four years of my prime, and you’re not going to be comfortable with my decision and root me on? You’re going to make me feel bad going out the door?'”

After receiving crushing defeats at the hands of the Warriors, the Cavaliers from 3–1 down to clinch the 2016 NBA Championship title from last year’s champion. LeBron James was named MVP.

[Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images]