The new collective bargaining agreement will allow the Cavaliers to offer LeBron James a five-year worth about $209MM in 2018, writes Jason Lloyd of The Akron Beacon Journal. The exact dollar amount won’t be known until the cap is set for 2018/19, but it would easily exceed the record $153MM contract that Mike Conley signed with the Grizzlies in July. It will be a nice raise for James, who will make nearly $31MM this season and more than $33MM next year, and it was made possible by the union’s insistence that the “age 36” rule, which limits contract length for older veterans, be changed to an “age 38” rule. Of course it’s not certain that James will decide to finish his career in Cleveland. He has talked about forming a team with his friends Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade, and 2018 may be his last chance to make that happen while they’re all still productive.
There’s more this morning out of Cleveland:
- Kyrie Irving is the only member of the team’s Big Three who will be affected by the new designated veteran player exception, Lloyd notes in the same piece. The provision permits teams to offer six-year extensions to two players who are entering their eighth or ninth seasons in the NBA and who are signing their second max extensions. James is in his 14th season, and Kevin Love has already inked two long-term contracts. Both Irving and Love can both become free agents in 2019.
- Grizzlies coach David Fizdale thinks that if James stays in the league when his playing days are over, it should be as an executive rather than a coach, relays Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. “He would kill somebody,” Fizdale said. “Perfection is like [his standard]. He wants perfection. I could see him actually owning his own team and doing something like that, but I think he would end up killing a player at some point because they wouldn’t live up to the expectations that he would set forth.”
- The Cavaliers have expressed interest in Kings center Kosta Koufos in the past, but a trade with Sacramento doesn’t seem likely, Vardon states in a separate story. Koufos is now starting for the Kings and making $8MM, so he would be an expensive acquisition. Also, it would be hard to work him into the rotation with Tristan Thompson and Channing Frye forming an effective combination at center. Vardon says Willie Cauley-Stein might be more realistic, but would still cost too much for a player not likely to see many minutes come playoff time.