Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James opts out of player option in his contract

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LeBron James wrote himself into Cleveland folklore by making good on his promise to win an NBA championship with his hometown franchise.

The three-time Finals MVP helped the Wine and Gold become the first ever franchise to overturn a 3-1 deficit as they downed the Golden State Warriors in a repeat of 2015's showcase. After taking the Larry O'Brien trophy to Ohio for the first time, James looks set to earn an incredible amount of money after opting out of his player option.

The forward was set to earn $24 million next season but will become a free agent on July 1 after - according to his agent - he notified the Cavaliers' front office of his decision. However, 'The King' has already insisted he is going nowhere and will resign with the organisation.

James previously told ESPN: "I love it here in Cleveland. I have no intentions of leaving. There are some technicalities to take care of I'll leave up to my agent. That's right from the horse's mouth."

With the new television deal coming into play and the increase in teams' salary caps, the 31-year-old's wage is set to significantly improve from the $24m on offer in his current contract. Although his agent Rich Paul would not reveal the size of the deal he would resign or when, in fact, it would happen.

After a tough regular season for the Cavaliers that showed no signs of what was about to come, the critics were circling and preparing to dub his second spell with the Ohio-based organisation a failure. However, he came up trumps in the Finals, averaging 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and 8.9 assists with an effective field goal percentage of 53.3.

Having been unanimously voted MVP, he joined Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Duncan as three-time winners, sitting behind Michael Jordan, who has six.

The 2003 number one draft pick's performance in game seven of the 2016 Finals was one of the best ever as he dropped 27 points, provided 11 assists and pulled down as many rebounds, becoming just the third player in history to record a triple-double in a Finals decider - after Jerry West in 1969 and James Worthy in '88.

James turned down the chance to compete in his fourth Olympic Games this summer as he recovers from an incredibly tasking campaign. The two-time gold medal winner will be aiming to repeat the incredible feat in the 2016/17 campaign, and the emergence of his partnership with Kyrie Irving can only be positive for the Cavaliers.

Irving played a vital role throughout the Finals - dropping a dagger from three-point range to put the Cavs up by three - but, when asked about the influence of James, he was under no illusions, saying: "Best player on the planet."

Kyrie Irving
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
LeBron James

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