Lebron hints he'll explore free agency
Associated Press Aug 7, 2009 Comment on this story
AKRON, Ohio -- LeBron James is going to make the Cleveland Cavaliers wait -- and sweat. James indicated Friday that he is unlikely to accept a contract extension from the Cavs until after the 2009-10 season and presumably will become a free agent. At an event in his hometown to unveil Nike Air Max LeBron VII, the latest sneaker in his signature line, James made his strongest comments yet about his future. The NBA's reigning MVP said he signed a three-year contract in 2006 to give him more options once it expires. "I signed a contract in 2006 with an option, and it would make no sense for me to sign that contract if I didn't keep my options open," he said. "I'll let you fill in the blanks." The Cavaliers offered James a contract extension on July 18, the three-year anniversary of the signing of his current contract. The team could offer the extension -- at the highest salary allowed -- of up to four years. James can sign the extension offer anytime before June 30, 2010. James, who will make $15.7 million next season, also has an option in his current contract that can extend his deal through the 2010-11 season. However, it appears for now that James does not intend to sign the extension or pick up his one-year option for $17.1 million anytime soon. The 24-year-old superstar said his agent, Leon Rose, and Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry have had "a great conversation." But James remained noncommittal about his plans beyond the upcoming season, one he hopes ends with the Cavs, who acquired All-Star center Shaquille O'Neal shortly after their season ended, winning their first NBA title. James was similarly positioned in 2006, when he decided to sign a three-year extension with the Cavs. Despite James' insistence that he's happy in Cleveland, his choice to delay his decision is certain to spark more speculation that he'll sign with another club next summer. James has maintained that he's pleased with the Cavs' direction, owner Dan Gilbert and Ferry's attempts to add more talent to Cleveland's roster. James said he isn't worried about his contract situation becoming a distraction. Following an elaborate multimedia presentation by Nike, James, who will embark on a tour promoting his new shoe and "More Than A Game," a documentary chronicling his days at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, answered questions about O'Neal and Magic forward Rashard Lewis' 10-game suspension for testing positive for an elevated testosterone level. James also reiterated his Thursday comments in which he said he regretted not doing a mandatory postgame media session after the Cavaliers were eliminated from the playoffs by the Orlando Magic. But he also said that he didn't think he owed anyone an apology for failing to shake hands with the Magic players immediately after the series ended. James offered sympathy to Lewis, who admitted taking an over-the-counter supplement late last season that included a substance he did not realize was banned by the league. "It's unfortunate," James said. "I know Rashard really well and I know he's not that type of guy who would do anything to get the upper edge on another player, that's first and foremost. You just have to use great judgment. We have guys with us every day who can find out for you if it [substance] is banned or not banned by the NBA. A mistake by him." James said he is looking forward to being teammates with O'Neal, one of the few athletes on the planet as recognizable as James himself. "To get the opportunity to play with one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game, that's the fun part for me," James said. "I'm humbled by that."
i think he will stay. he was raised and this is his hometown and he has a shot to win a title i dont see him leaving.
he should go to miami. it's hot as africa there and it's an above average market....he can also play with the robbed deserved mvp of 2008-2009 (wade).
I'm telling you right now...I think he is going to NY. Cleveland killed itself by paying for all those guys this season.
No shot @ winning @ title n CLE, management blew it when they gave side show bob (AV) that huge contract, HE SUCKS
I've been saying he is going to New York for a while now. He simply has a better chance of winning a title with the Knicks. Plus it is a bigger market, bigger stage, better system, etc...
I think if the Knicks can trade Curry or Jefferies, 100% LBJ to NYC.
CLE can offer him 20% more then anyother team, he not going anywhere. Unless the Knicks clear enough cap to sign 2 stars ie; Wade,Bron/ Bron,Bosh i see no way he goes there.
True but he can be the face of NYC and make more money in NY then Cleveland. Cleveland has no cap space and is not a sexy city. NY is the biggest NBA market on the east coast. The Knicks can add a LeBron and make a move to get a 2nd or 3rd tier player either in 2010 or 2011.
If I was the Knicks, I would make a trade like this
Harrington, Curry and Chandler to Miami for Jermaine O' Neal
and just let this season go, buy another late 1st rounder add a solid player ( my pick would be Scottie Hopson) and Lebron will come.
QHaynes- That is the smartest thing you have said in a while. Not saying you haven't said smart things lately but I agree 100% with everything you just said. Obviously I know a lot about Hopson & I think he would be a great addition to the Knicks. Also that trade looks perfect. Not only does it free up a ton of cap space for the Knicks but it also gives Wade some more help which he desperately needs. Good thinking.
Has no cap space after they sign lebron Danny Ferry (i have that right right?) has screwed this team if they would had Sam Presti (Thunder GM) I would have said James would have stayed
While its true that Cleveland can pay more money than the other teams... do you think that will be a big enough pull if another team offers a better chance at a title? LBJ is already one of the richest athletes in the world.
Cleveland's biggest pull is if the can convince LeBron that leaving the city will tarnish his legacy, something he cares about as much as championships.
I think getting championships doesn't tarnish legacy and if Cleveland tells him that straight i would just leave
It for months on this site and argued with many over it. Lebron is out he is going to NY or NJ with Jay Z. Clevland needed to show some balls and make the move. I said it b4 they are going to lose the best player in the game not name Kobe for nothing.
lol..more than likely hes staying. keep wishing knick fans, yeah new york is a big market but i just havnt seen players going out of there way to come play in ny and that is not the best chance to win a title. d'antoni has shown he can help you score points and be entertaining but his style definatley doesnt win titles because he ignores defense. Simple fact