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Thursday, 02 July 2015 11:51

James Plays the Contract Game Like a Genius

By | Sports

Now we see LeBron James opting out of his final year of his contract and the sports media is right on top of this move.  What it means is that his rights are part of the NBA clause that all players have this option to move on to become free agents.  This has nothing to do with the Cleveland Cavaliers; it would be an oversight by him and his agent if they don’t exercise that clause and the right to use it.  So let's not jump to conclusions that James is looking to move out of Cleveland’s lineup.


Here's some of the info that explains this move.  One, James will end up increasing his salary another $1.5 million for next season.  Two, part of the option means that at the end of next season, he again becomes a free agent.  Why?  It's in his contract, and the deal with the NBA for next season is that the salary cap moves up from $63.065 million to $67.1 million.  


What does the salary cap mean? The actual amount of the salary cap varies on a year-to-year basis, and is calculated as a percentage of the league's revenue from the previous season; for instance, in 2007-08, the NBA's salary cap was approximately $55.6 million per team, and for the 2008-09 season it was $58.68 million.  So a bigger raise in 2016-17 will have to do with the fact that there will be new TV money kicking in and it is projected that the cap will exceed $90 million and possibly to $108 million the following year.


So James' move has nothing to do with his wanting to hold the Cavilers hostage, because he and his agent are not seeking a new team, they are playing by the rules of the contract and have all of the intention to sign for next season with a $1.5 million bump. But, because of what is expected to happen in 2016-17 with an inflation rate of the future TV money, the negotiations will start moving in a different direction.  Understand this, you'll see King James go from year-to-year with his future contracts because the money will get bigger with each season as the pot becomes more enticing in the commercialization of his ability to play professional basketball.


There will always be the critics who will ask the question: When is enough, enough?  But, let me ask them this question: Wouldn't you make the same choices given the opportunity?  I know the answer to that: Of course we would, with few exceptions to look for more money.  We are a nation that has been labeled the land of opportunity, and in most circumstances our republic is all of that.


I can remember, when I was a kid in the late 1950s, when the late-great center fielder for the New York Yankees, Mickey Mantle, and for the NY Giants, Willie Mays, who is still around, signed $100,000 contracts.  This became a huge story across the country that some people were critical of but most were amazed that a professional athlete could make that much money to play a sport, as more players became $100 thousand dollar stars. Oh how times have changed, I guess it can be called crazy. Now it has become a given for these anomalies in the world of professional athletics to make millions of dollar a year.


Back to James, he is also concerned that his teammates get what they deserve for their financial needs as part of his snail's pace to re-sign to his next season's contract.  He will sign as soon as his colleagues get their piece of the pie.  Also, Kevin Love has become a free agent, and he was absent from the finals because of an injury that put him on the sidelines. Rumor is that he and James are far from being best buddies, but it seems that Love won't be going too far, even though it's rumored that he will become a Los Angeles Laker, but I actually think he is expected to be with Cleveland next season.


0 0 1 663 3782 Saratoga Publishing 31 8 4437 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE All in all, going year-to-year allows James to avoid being locked into a long-term contract as the NBA and the Players Association prepare for the next round of collective bargaining.  It is an ongoing process that has become the new nature of professional athletics.  As the colloquial saying goes: "It is what it is."  As the king of professional basketball, James is going to do what he has to do, while he can, to get what he's worth.  The professional life of a pro athlete, as glorious at it might seem, is a short one.  I know I don't grudgingly feel that James as one who is over zealous in the greediness of sports contracts, because if I was one of the fortunate ones with the gift to play at that level, I too would feel the need to get my wo

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