LeBron James finally brought a championship to Cleveland, and he is sticking around to defend it after announcing on Thursday he'll sign a contract to remain with the Cavaliers:
Brian Windhorst of ESPN reported James is signing a three-year, $100 million deal.
James declined his player option to become an unrestricted free agent for the third consecutive year, but there was little concern he would leave the Cavs.
During the team's championship parade, LeBron expressed his desire to continue building upon the title-winning foundation he helped lay in Cleveland, according to ESPN.com: "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."
King James left Cleveland for the Miami Heat during the 2010 offseason and went on to win two championships in South Beach, but he triumphantly returned to his home state in 2014 with designs on making the Cavs champions.
He fell just short of his goal in the 2014-15 campaign by losing to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, but he atoned for that defeat this past season and led all players in points, assists, rebounds, blocks and steals in the Finals en route to his third championship and NBA Finals MVP award.
The 31-year-old veteran quite possibly re-established himself as the best player in the world ahead of Warriors guard Stephen Curry, and while James would have received league-wide interest had he decided to play the field, his commitment to the Cavaliers was never in doubt.
James is coming off yet another excellent year in addition to his playoff success, as he averaged 25.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game during the regular season. He was also far more efficient than he was during his previous campaign with the Cavs, posting a field-goal percentage of .520.
While LeBron received help from his supporting cast, particularly Kyrie Irving, there is no question he is the lifeblood of the Cavaliers and the biggest key to their sustained success.
Losing James for a second time would have been devastating for the franchise despite finally winning a championship, but he has made it clear winning a single title for Cleveland wasn't his only goal.
The Cavs will be the team to beat in the Eastern Conference, and with James back in the fold for 2016-17, they will be among the top championship contenders once again, assuming he remains healthy.
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