Free-agent basketball player LeBron James signed a new five-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday, a deal worth more than $100 million, making him the biggest name to sign in his lifetime.
The Cavaliers will be the biggest beneficiaries of the deal, which is the richest in NBA history and the second biggest contract ever for a player.
The deal will also bring the Cavs back into the NBA Finals for the first time since 2012, with James playing for the defending champions.
It was a year of significant changes for James, who had been a long-time free agent and the team’s top priority.
He signed a four-year, $89 million deal in April 2016 that included an extension that was set to run through 2021.
James signed the contract with the hope that he could return to his former team in the Finals, but he ended up signing with the Los Angeles Lakers instead.
After a rough start to his career in Cleveland, James was one of the most dominant players in the league last season, averaging 24.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists while playing a key role in the Cavs’ title run.
He won two NBA championships with the Cavs in 2016, including the 2016 NBA Finals, where the Cavaliers defeated the Cleveland Warriors.
But the Cavaliers lost in the conference finals to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA title game, and James was left to mourn the loss of his beloved Cleveland Cavaliers.
“I know what it’s like to miss the best part of the Cleveland family and what we accomplished in that time, but at the same time, I also know what Cleveland means to me,” James said in a statement.
“I’m looking forward to playing with the team again next season.”
The Cavaliers are scheduled to have the highest payroll in the NFL with $98 million, according to ESPN.
That’s almost $30 million more than they paid for James last season.
James, who turned 38 on June 26, has become the NBA’s best player and arguably the best athlete of all time.
He has played in all 82 regular season games for Cleveland and is one of just nine players to have played in every game this season, including every playoff game.
James’ new deal is the second-highest contract in NBA annals.
It is the largest contract ever paid by a free agent.
The NBA’s average annual salary is $27.3 million, per CapGeek.com.
James will also receive a $10 million bonus, with the remainder of the contract guaranteed.