The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed free agent forward LeBron James, Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin announced today.
According to ESPN.com, “James signed a two-year, $42.1 million deal with the goal of re-signing with the Cavs before the 2016-17 season when a new television deal is expected to create a large jump in value of the maximum contract.”
“We could not be happier to welcome LeBron James home. Yesterday, LeBron, through his essay, told us he wasn’t going anywhere except Cleveland and that ‘Cleveland is where he always believed he would finish his career.’ These words and commitment put all of us, including LeBron, in the best position to build our franchise the right way and achieve the kind of goals we all know are possible. Expectations will be at the highest levels but no one should expect immediate and automatic success,” said Griffin.
“LeBron’s motivation to return home is clearly fueled by the kind of emotions and ideals that we can and should embrace. The contract and those details are secondary to his commitment to Northeast Ohio and the Cavaliers. It extends well beyond the boundaries of basketball and speak to his love and passion for his family, home, and our fans. He communicated his role and growth as a husband, father, teammate, community leader, and business person. This resonated in a special and personal way for all of us. LeBron put it well when he stated; ‘In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned.’ We can’t wait to get started and look forward to his leadership, on and off the court, for many years to come.”
The Akron, Ohio native returns to the Cavaliers where he remains the franchise’s leader in points scored (15,251), scoring average (27.8 PPG) field goals made (5,415) and attempted (11,403), free throws made (3,650) and attempted (4,917), steals (955) and minutes played (22,119). He also ranks second in team history in three-pointers made (771), second in assists (3,810), third in defensive rebounds (3,183), fourth in blocks (482), fifth in total rebounds (3,861) and is tied for seventh in games played (548).
An advocate for change and community responsibility, James launched the LeBron James Family Foundation in 2004 with a mission to positively affect the lives of children and young adults through education and co-curricular educational initiatives. In 2011, in partnership with the Akron Public Schools, his foundation launched its pillar program, “Wheels for Education”, with its mission to improve graduation rates in Akron. In 2012, James pledged $1 million to renovate his old stomping grounds at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School as the completion of The LeBron James Arena had its ceremonial grand opening on December 14, 2013. He and his foundation also work regularly with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, renovating a local Boys and Girls Club in every All-Star host city each year, an initiative that began in 2008 in New Orleans.
James is a four-time MVP (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013), a two-time NBA champion (2012, 2013) and a two-time Olympic gold medalist (2008, 2012). The 6-8 forward has also garnered other numerous achievements over his career including: Ten-time NBA All-Star (2005–2014), two-time NBA All-Star Game MVP (2006, 2008), eight-time All-NBA First Team selection (2006, 2008–2014), two-time All-NBA Second Team selection (2005, 2007) and five-time NBA All-Defensive First Team selection (2009–2013). James was originally drafted by the Cavs with the first overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft and went on to earn the NBA’s Rookie of the Year Award in 2003-04.
James has played in 842 games (841 starts) with career averages of 27.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 1.7 steals in 39.5 minutes per game with Cleveland and Miami. LeBron has the third highest scoring average in NBA history to go along with 37 career triple-doubles and 267 career double-doubles. He has scored in double figures on 834 occasions, including 701 games with at least 20 points, 339 games with 30-or-more points, 52 40-point performances and 10 50-plus efforts. James will begin the 2014-15 season having scored in double figures a career-high 572 consecutive games, a streak that began on Jan. 6, 2007. He has scored over 2,000 points in nine of the last 10 seasons and has averaged at least 20 points in all 11 of his NBA seasons.
This past year, James was selected to the All-NBA First Team and All-Defensive Second Team after averaging 27.1 points (ranked third in NBA) on a career-best .567 shooting from the field (fourth in NBA), 6.9 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.6 steals in 37.7 minutes over 77 games (all starts). He was the only player in the league to average at least 20 points, six rebounds and six assists. The two-time NBA Finals MVP also led Miami to its fourth straight NBA Finals appearance during the 2013-14 season. For his postseason career, he has appeared in 158 playoff contests with averages of 28.0 points, 8.4 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.7 steals in 42.5 minutes per game.