The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

LeBron takes less?

Posted by disappointmentzone on 10 July 2006

According to reports floating around the internet, LeBron James might sign a contract with LeCavs worth only $60 million instead of the originally reported $80. The contract would include giving James a player option after three seasons instead of after four, as was first reported being part of the original contract. This would allow James to become a free agent under a new collective barganing agreement, which means a higher salary cap, thus giving James the opportunity to make more money sooner, albeit over the long run, if that makes sense.

If not, here is a better explanation: The first deal was for five years and $80 million, for an average salary of $16 over the life of the deal. Once that deal expired James would be a free agent. The new deal is for five years and $60 million, which is for only $12 million per year over the five years, but after three years James can opt out of the contract to become a free agent. At that point he could sign for upwards of $150 million over six seasons, for an average salary of $25 million per year. If you add two years at $25 million to the first three years of $16 million you get five years at $19.6 million, or $95 million over five seasons instead of $80 million. James would also be younger coming out of his $150 million contract, which would make him more attractive for a club that wants to sign him to one more longterm deal. The deal also means the LeCavs will have to pony up a lot more money much sooner than expected if they want to keep LeBron in Cleveland.

So the deal, if it has been reported correctly, is very lucrative for James. And it should also give the Cavs a little more flexibility in the near future to sign a player or two. And if the Cavs don’t improve soon, it means James can leave Cleveland while he’s still young.

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