Cleveland Cavaliers fans should thank LeBron James, not just because he delivered the city its first championship in five decades. They should thank him for not putting fans through torture this summer with “will he leave Cleveland?” talk.
According to cleveland.com, LeBron told a reporter prior to the start of Wednesday’s championship parade that he plans to defend the NBA title in the 2016-17 season.
“I love it here. I love being here. I love my teammates,” James said before boarding his float. “Obviously my agent will take care of all the logistical things but, I'm happy. I've got no plans to go nowhere at this point.”
That doesn’t mean LeBron won’t opt out of the one year remaining on his contract, but that’s only so he can make more money next season when the salary cap goes up significantly.
So don’t be surprised if the rumors continue once the start of free agency hits on July 1 and James negotiates a new contract. It’s still a business after all. LeBron likely wants to make $30 million next year, and the Cavs will give it to him and even have some left over to bring in a big-name free agent (Al Horford?).
“This is the happiest time in my life right now,” James also added.
That doesn’t sound like a man that wants to leave.