LeBron James has agreed to a two-year, $42.1 million contract with the Cavaliers with the right to opt-out after next season. According to Brian Windhorst, the deal is structured this way to help both LeBron and the Cavaliers navigate the current salary cap. The plan is for LeBron to re-up with the Cavs in two years when it is expected a new TV deal will increase the league's cap, and with it LeBron's salary and Cleveland's ability to surround him with talent.
Depending on how the new television contracts are put together, the salary cap is projected to leap to as high as $80 million in 2016. There is also uncertainty with the current collective bargaining agreement starting in 2017, another reason James wanted to keep his long-term options open when it comes to the structure of his contract.
James' off-court earnings, which top $40 million per year according to some estimates, allows for him to take some short-term risk to maximize long-term earnings.
It looks like this is beneficial to both parties—it almost plays like a probationary period—and after winning back the heart of Cleveland it seems unfathomable that LeBron would turn heel again, but things could get dicey as early as next year with that opt-out clause.
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LeBron deal has eye on future cap [ESPN]