The Cleveland Cavaliers had to sweat it out a little bit, but LeBron James has re-signed with them, as everyone expected he would. This should mean that Tristan Thompson, who has the same agent as James, will also be soon announcing his return for a few more years.
James signed the same deal he had when he came over last year from Miami. A two-year contract with a player option after the first season. He’ll make $22.97 million the first season, $24 million in the second year. But everyone knows that if James keep on playing like he has been for most of his career, he’ll be opting out and going for another max deal, this time with a new, insane salary cap.
James was thought to be holding out until the Cavaliers complete all their moves of bringing back players. They re-signed Kevin Love and Iman Shumpert, while using the team option they had on Timofey Mozgov. Mo Williams, a former James teammate was signed. Tristan Thompson is still in negotiations, but James decided enough is enough. He was going anywhere else anyway.
Does this make the Cavaliers the favorites to win the NBA title? Obviously in the East they’re the team to beat, even without J.R. Smith who is still trying to get a deal no one is going to give him. A healthy Cavaliers team looks every bit as good as the San Antonio Spurs or Golden State Warriors, at least from a first, even pre-preseason glance, although they still haven’t brought back everyone, and some minor improvements could go a long way.
Thompson and James have the same agent, Rich Paul, who is a very good friend of James. Which basically makes LeBron not just a friend of Thompson, but also kind of his agent. Not the healthiest situation for a ball club, but James does stand out in his ability to operate above conformity of the star-team relationship. Some think he’s gotten too strong, too full of himself. If he keeps taking the team to the Finals and putting it in a position to win titles, no one will complain.