LeBron officially signs contract extension with Cavs

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers finally got the autograph they wanted most.

LeBron James signed a three-year contract extension worth about $60 million Tuesday, cementing a deal announced last week.

The All-Star forward signed the contract in Las Vegas, where he was preparing to train with the U.S. team for the world championships.

The deal will keep James with the Cavaliers through the 2009-10 season and includes a player option for a fourth year. The extension is for two fewer years than the deal the Cavs offered, a five-year package worth about $80 million.

But by the summer of 2010, James will be a seven-year veteran with the option of seeking a new contract as an unrestricted free agent, making him eligible to negotiate a maximum contract worth 30 percent of the salary cap. Players with less than seven years experience can earn only 25 percent of the cap.

"We did extensive research and with the way the CBA is set up, it makes the most business sense to sign this extension and then look at another new contract in four years," James said last week, following an announcement that eased Cavs fans' anxieties that had built up as he deliberated over the offer.

The contract will take effect after the 2006-07 season. The 6-foot-8 superstar will earn $5.8 million next season, the last year of his rookie contract.