CLEVELAND — First, the Cavaliers got LeBron James’ word. Then they got his signature.
James signed a two-year, $42.1 million contract with the Cavs on Saturday, a day after he announced he was returning to play in Cleveland and try to end the city’s 50-year championship drought.
The deal 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 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 is not providing any details 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 salary 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.
The Cavs did not provide any terms of the contract in a release, citing league policy.
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.
Anthony may be staying with Knicks
NEW YORK — A person with knowledge of the details says Carmelo Anthony is staying with the New York Knicks.
Anthony has decided to stay in New York after meeting with a number of teams during free agency, the person told The Associated Press on Saturday on condition of anonymity because no announcement was made.
The Knicks offered Anthony a maximum contract worth nearly $130 million over five years. He also met with Chicago, Houston, Dallas and the Lakers, though the Knicks were able to offer about $35 million more than any of them under NBA rules.
Yahoo Sports and the Daily News of New York first reported Anthony’s plans.
Anthony came to the Knicks in February 2011 after a trade with the Denver Nuggets. He led the NBA in scoring in 2012-13 and was second last year.
Pau Gasol tweets he’s joining 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 on Saturday evening that he reached agreement with the Bulls.
“It hasn’t been easy,” Gasol tweeted. “After meditating it a lot I’ve chosen to play with the Chicago Bulls. Looking forward to this new chapter of my career.”
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.
Pierce to Wizards on 2-year deal
Paul Pierce is on the move for the second straight summer, this time from Brooklyn to the Washington Wizards.
A person with knowledge of the deal tells The Associated Press that Pierce has agreed to a two-year contract with the Wizards. The deal is for the mid-level exception, which is about $5.3 million for next season, and includes a player option in the second year of the contract. The person requested anonymity because the Wizards have not officially announced the signing.
By wire sources