LeBron James wants you to appreciate the fact that’s he’s never taken a max deal in his 10 year NBA career. He wants you to understand that he’s sacrificed his personal finances to win and he never gets credit for that fact.
“I don’t get (the credit) for it. That doesn’t matter to me; playing the game is what matters to me. Financially, I’ll sacrifice for the team. It shows for some of the top guys, it isn’t all about money. That’s the genuine side of this, it’s about winning. I understand that.”
LeBron went on to say that if this was baseball, his salary would be astronomical. The MLB is the only major out of the big three (NFL, NBA, MLB) not to have a salary cap. The NBA lands in the middle. While contracts are guaranteed, the number of years and the salary cap has gone down since the height of bloated contracts in the mid to late 90’s.
LeBron is earning $17.5 million this season and $40 million overall according to Forbes once you add in his endorsements. Kobe Bryant is currently the highest player in the NBA earning $27.8 million. Lebron can opt out of his contract in 2014. 2014 is an important year because it’s also when the repeater tax is enacted on NBA teams that have been over the luxury tax for three consecutive years. In the previous collective bargaining agreement, teams who went over paid a dollar-for-dollar tax. on the overages. So for example if you were $3 million over the cap, you had to kick out $6 million. The new adjustment which smaller market teams pushed for believing it would give them parity and a fighting chance against big money spenders like the Knicks, Lakers and Mavs, will tack on four times the amount teams are over.
Now the Rudy Gay trade to Toronto should make a little more sense to you.
While LeBron has a point about him being underpaid, generally fans have a hard time swallowing how a man that makes $17 million to play basketball is underpaid.