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Next decision for LeBron James could come as soon as next season

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With an eye towards maximizing his salary, LeBron takes short deal.

Gregory Shamus

LeBron James will be taking his talents back to Cleveland on just a two-year deal, but he says he's staying there for the long haul.

We'll see.

As reported by ESPN, LeBron has finalized his Cleveland Cavaliers deal for a two-year, $42.1 million deal "with the goal of re-signing with the Cavs before the 2016-17 season". That's when a new television deal could trigger a different salary cap scenario and change the game for LeBron's next contract.

Even more tantalizing, his deal includes the option of opting out already by next summer, but sources say he's "committed to the Cavs long term".

It seems like we've heard that before...

"I've got a goal, and it's a huge goal," LeBron said in an interview with NBA TV in 2010, before the first Decision. "That's to bring a championship here to Cleveland and I won't stop until I get it."

Then he said this immediately after signing his contract with the Miami Heat just months later.

"Not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven..." was what LeBron said during the Heat's introductory pep rally. "When I say that, I really believe it.

"I'm not just up here blowing smoke at none of these fans, because that's not what I'm about. I'm about business and we believe we can win multiple championships if we take care of business and do it the right way."

Four Finals appearances and two straight titles in just four seasons and now LeBron is suddenly gone.

So when LeBron tells you he's in it for the long haul, let's hope for Cleveland's sake he really, really means it this time around.