1:26pm: The deal is official, the team announced.
“LeBron’s re-signing today is a reflection and continuation of his strong, personal commitment to help deliver championships to Northeast Ohio and Cavs fans everywhere,” GM David Griffin said in the team’s statement. “We share this deep level of commitment with him. His impact upon this team, his community and the game are impossible to overstate and we look forward to continuing on our mission together.”
FRIDAY, 12:10pm: James signed this morning, a source tells Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The team has yet to make a formal announcement.
THURSDAY, 12:01pm: Agent Rich Paul notified the Cavaliers that client LeBron James will sign with them on the first day he can in free agency, tweets Chris Broussard of ESPN.com. That would indicate that James will sign today. It’s no great surprise, unlike last year, as James has been likely to stay with Cleveland, though the timing of the move, which comes before an agreement between the Cavs and fellow Paul client Tristan Thompson, is somewhat unexpected. It’s a two-year deal with a player option, Broussard adds in a second tweet, with salary figures that indicate it’ll be a max contract. That’s the very sort of arrangement that Joe Vardon of the Northeast Ohio Media Group wrote months ago that James was likely to sign.
James, 30, turned in another stellar season in 2014/15, averaging 25.3 PPG, 7.4 APG, 6.0 RPG, and a 25.9 PER. This past campaign might not have been James’ career-best, but he was nothing short of dominant overall. After cruising to his eleventh consecutive All-Star selection, James put on a heroic effort in the postseason. Even after losing Kevin Love to a shoulder injury in their first round battle with the Celtics and Kyrie Irving to a knee injury in the Finals, LeBron kept his Cavs afloat into a hard-fought championship series against the Warriors.
LeBron and his squad experienced some road bumps in 2014/15, including an up-and-down start to the year and apparent friction between first-year coach David Blatt and core players. Ultimately, however, LeBron will continue to push to see things through in Cleveland as he promised to do this time last year. Of course, it also helps that James appears to have far more control over personnel moves now than he did in Miami.
There was never much question as to whether LeBron would re-sign with Cleveland, but the Cavs are surely breathing a sigh of relief now that they have word of his return.