It's an example of the "unintended consequences" commissioner Adam Silver has talked about of the salary cap explosion coming to the NBA.
James removed doubt about his intentions on Wednesday when he told ESPN's Dave McMenamin: "I love it here in Cleveland. I have no intentions of leaving. There are some technicalities to take care of I'll leave up to my agent. That's right from the horse's mouth."
Those technicalities include perhaps leaving $3 million on the table if he wants what is his now customary one-year contract plus a player option with the Cavs as he's signed the last two summers.
It is expected James will not pick up his player option next season, which is for $24 million.
If James were to take another one-year contract from the Cavs he would be able to make $27.5 million for next season. This is because the Cavs don't have salary cap space and don't have James' full "Bird" rights, which limits the size of the raise he can get.
Another team with cap space -- and there are more than 20 of them -- could give James $30.8 million for next season.
The reason for this is complicated in contract language and math. Summarized, the salary cap is leaping so much that the increase in the max contract parameters exceeds the 20 percent raise the Cavs are able to offer James.
As is the case with almost everything else involving NBA numbers this summer, this is a never before seen situation.
The only way James could get $30.8 million next year from the Cavs is if he took a two-year deal under league rules. In this case, he could sign for two years and $64 million.
James has been planning to take one-year contracts until the summer of 2017, when an even higher salary cap and potential new collective barraging agreement rules would enable him to sign one of the largest deals in professional sports history if he wanted to.
In the meantime, if James sticks to his plan of taking one-year deals he could get passed in salary by a veteran player like Al Horford, who is expected to get max contract offers from several teams.