How LeBron James Told The Cleveland Cavaliers He Was Leaving

Jo Caldwell
July 3, 2018

That comes despite rampant speculation that the four-time MVP would bolt his hometown team for a second time after opting out opt of the final year of his contract, which would have paid him $35.6 million in 2018-19.

The 33-year-old James is coming off a season in which he averaged 27.5 points per game with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

James spent four season in Cleveland after winning two National Basketball Association championships with the Miami Heat.

Some had expected the move to Los Angeles, where the OH native owns two homes.

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LeBron's departure leaves the Cleveland Cavaliers scrambling, though they knew this was a possibility. Sunday's announcement came on the opening day of the new league year. According to Real GM's Keith Smith, the Lakers are projected to have $46.82 million in room.

Julius Randle could be back with the Lakers on a one-year deal, or if he signs the qualifying offer because there are not other offers out there (it's a very tight market), but the Lakers are not sacrificing their cap space for anyone.

James will make $25.65 million next season.

Getting back to annual title contention, which is a given with James, will be hard.

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He rejoined the Cavs in 2014, winning another championship in 2016. They were 48-11 against Eastern Conference clubs in the playoffs. James helped seal a Game 7 win with a chase-down block of Andre Iguodala, the signature moment of a career that has shown no signs of decay. He was even more prolific in the postseason, with norms of 34 points, 9.1 rebounds and 9.0 assists, and a.539-.342-.746 shooting line.

But James has been to eight straight National Basketball Association finals.

He played all 82 games for the first time in his career, and still dragged a mediocre Cavaliers roster to the NBA Finals, where they were swept away by Golden State. Both players enjoyed plenty of success the first time around and eventually won back-to-back championships in Miami.

Afterward, James yelled, "Cleveland, this is for you", into Doris Burke's microphone. "LeBron's connection to Akron, Cleveland and all of Northeast Ohio will most certainly endure as his commitment to the region and his support of many important causes has been impactful to so many kids and families". He thanked Cavaliers fans in an Instagram post, saying the city will always be his home.

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