CLEVELAND — LeBron James signed a two-year, $42.1 million contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers that provides flexibility for the NBA’s biggest star with the league’s maximum salary expected to rise in the future.
A person familiar with the negotiations said Saturday that James’ contract includes an option for the four-time league MVP to become a free agent next summer. However, it is strictly “a business deal,” according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team has not commented about the agreement.
By only signing for two years, James can get another contract with the Cavs before the 2016-17 season when a new television deal is expected to push the maximum contract higher. The max contract for next season is $20.7 million. Until this deal, James had never been the highest paid player on his team in 11 seasons as a pro.
James announced he was returning to the Cavaliers on Friday, picking Cleveland over Miami and reversing the decision he made four years ago to sign as a free agent with the Heat.
Gasol set to join Bulls
The Chicago Bulls recovered quickly after losing out on Carmelo Anthony in free agency, landing Los Angeles Lakers big man Pau Gasol to bolster the team’s offense.
Gasol announced on his verified Twitter account Saturday evening that he reached agreement with the Bulls.
The Spaniard is one of the NBA’s most offensively gifted and versatile big men, and he has long been one of Kobe Bryant’s favorite teammates with the Lakers. Gasol spent the last seven seasons in Los Angeles, teaming with Bryant to win two championships and reach another NBA Finals.
The exact terms of his agreement with the Bulls were not immediately clear. The Bulls and Lakers had reportedly been discussing sign-and-trade options earlier in the day Saturday, but no official announcement from either team had been made.
Rockets send Lin to Lakers
Jeremy Lin is still on his way to the Los Angeles Lakers, even after the Houston Rockets failed to land coveted forward Chris Bosh in free agency.
Two people with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press that the Rockets still plan to execute the trade that will send the point guard to Los Angeles for cash considerations. The people requested anonymity because the trade has not been officially announced.
The Rockets first lined up the agreement to help them create cap space for a four-year max offer to Bosh. But shortly after LeBron James chose the Cleveland Cavaliers over Miami, the Heat persuaded Bosh to stay with a five-year, $118 million offer.
The Rockets are still pursuing other stars to team with James Harden and Dwight Howard.
Suns sign Thomas
The Suns officially announced the acquisition of point guard Isaiah Thomas on Saturday in a sign-and-trade deal with the Sacramento Kings.
The deal had been reported by multiple outlets Friday.
The Suns envision Thomas as a complement to their double point guard starting lineup of Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe.
The 5-foot-9 Thomas averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 assists for the Kings last season, his third in the NBA, and was a restricted free agent. He was one of six players to average at least 20 points and six assists in 2013-14.