LOS ANGELES: LeBron James has ended speculation about his future after agreeing a two-year deal which will see him remain with the Cleveland Cavaliers next season, multiple reports said on Thursday (Friday in Manila).
The NBA superstar has reportedly agreed a contract worth nearly $50 million after opting out of a two-year deal on June 29 to reach free agency.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on its website that the deal comprised a $23 million contract for next season followed by a $24.7 million option for the 2016-2017 season.
James’s opt out decision was widely interpreted as a gambit designed to ensure the Cavaliers sign more top talent for next season after losing this year’s NBA finals.
Earlier this week point guard Mo Williams said he had agreed a deal with the Cavs which would see him reunite with James.
Williams played with James for two seasons between 2008-2010.
The Cavs have also handed lucrative contracts to forward Kevin Love and point guard Kyrie Irving, further enticing James to stay.
Cleveland is also close to agreeing a new deal with restricted free agent Tristan Thompson, who shares an agent with James, according to reports.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer said Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert had splurged around $330 million on contracts to surround James with a team capable of challenging for the title.
James averaged around 25.3 points and six rebounds per game during the regular season in 2014-15, but sharply improved his numbers during the Cavs playoff challenge.
He averaged 30.1 points per game in the playoffs, which ultimately ended with a 4-2 loss in the Finals to Golden State Warriors.
San Antonio Spurs veteran Tim Duncan agreed to a paycut before re-signing with the team Thursday at $5 million for one year.
The 39-year-old Duncan’s contract also includes and option for the 2016-17 season.
Duncan has played his entire career with the Spurs who made him the first overall pick in the 1997 entry draft.
The Chicago Bulls also made it official by announcing they had re-signed their leading scorer Jimmy Butler for a reported five years and $93 million.
Butler, who was named the league’s Most Improved Player last season, led the Bulls in scoring, averaging 20.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 65 games.
The Los Angeles Lakers were one of the busier teams Thursday, signing three players and trading for centre Roy Hibbert from the Indiana Pacers.
Los Angeles acquired two-time all-star Hibbert for a second-round draft pick. Hibbert spent the past seven seasons with Indiana where he averaged 10.6 points in 76 contests last year.
The Lakers also signed forward Brandon Bass, NBA Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams and second-round draft pick Anthony Brown to multiyear contracts.