August 11, 2016 / 11:17 PM / 2 years ago

NBA: James to stay with Cavaliers

Cleveland Cavaliers Lebron James celebrates with the crowd during a parade to celebrate winning the 2016 NBA Championship in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. June 22, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk

(Reuters) - LeBron James has signed a new contract to remain with his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers for the next three seasons.

Thursday’s announcement, less than two months after James led the Cavaliers to their first NBA championship, had been widely expected.

“I’m re-signing back with the Cleveland Cavaliers, my hometown team,” James said in a video posted on sports news website Uninterrupted.

“I can’t be more excited than this opportunity once again, man, to defend our crown, defend our title.

“We all know last year as a magical, inspiring, all the words you can come up with, it was an unbelievable season. I just can’t wait to get the group back together.”

Agent Rich Paul told ESPN the new $100 million contract is for three years, with James earning $31 million next season, which would make him the highest paid player in the league.

His salary would rise to $33 million in the 2017-18 season.

The 31-year-old James, a four-time NBA most valuable player, won two championships for the Miami Heat before returning to the Cavaliers in 2014, leading them to the NBA finals where they lost to the Golden State Warriors.

The Cavaliers reversed that result this season, bringing the first professional sports championship to the Ohio city since 1964.

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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