NBA Finals: 3 business storylines to watch this offseason

By SportsFOXBusiness

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The upcoming end of this year’s NBA Finals will begin a busy offseason for LeBron James, Stephen Curry and the other star players in the series.

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The Warriors currently hold a 3-0 lead against the Cavaliers and are favored to close out the series with a victory in Cleveland on Friday night. Durant scored a playoff career-high 43 points to lead the Warriors past the Cavaliers, 110-102, in Game 3. The Cavaliers would have to win four consecutive games to beat the Warriors and win a championship.

FOX Business breaks down some of the major business-related storylines to watch after this year’s NBA Finals. Game 4 is scheduled to tip off at 9 p.m. ET on Friday night.

Where will LeBron James play next season?

James’ ultimate destination will be the NBA’s top storyline this offseason. The 33-year-old forward has a $35.6 million player option for the 2018-19 NBA season, meaning he can choose to “opt in” and return to the Cavaliers next season or “opt out” and become an unrestricted free agent.

Under the NBA’s rules for free agency, the Cavaliers hold an advantage over other teams that might try to sign James. As James’ team for the past four years, Cleveland can offer their superstar a five-year contract worth $205 million, the maximum allowed under the league’s salary cap. Other teams can only offer a four-year, $152 million contract.

Several teams, including the Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers, have been rumored as potential destinations for James if he decides to leave Cleveland. The four-time NBA MVP has netted $85.5 million in the last year in salary and off-court earnings, according to Forbes.

Kevin Durant: TV producer?

Aside from being the odds-on favorite to win MVP honors if the Warriors close out the Finals with a victory, Durant could soon add a television show to his portfolio. Variety reported last February that Durant was partnering with Apple to develop a new drama series based on his experiences as a youth basketball star. Durant is said to be serving as an executive producer on the show, which is tentatively titled “Swagger” and is being developed by famed director Ron Howard’s Imagine Television.

Apple has yet to announce a release date for the drama or confirm that it will proceed to series, but a second consecutive NBA title would only enhance the public’s interest in Durant and his story.

The Curry family takeover

In addition to being one game away from his third NBA title in four years, Stephen Curry was named the 8th highest-paid athlete in the world when Forbes released its annual rankings this week. Curry earned $76.9 million in the last year, including $42 million from off-court income. He is one season into a five-year, $201 million contract with the Warriors, which was the first $200 million contract to be signed in NBA history.

But Stephen isn’t the only member of the Curry family currently experiencing success. His wife, Ayesha Curry, was recently named the new host of ABC’s new cooking competition series, “Family Food Fight.” The show has received an eight-episode order, though no premiere date has been announced.

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