LeBron James, or “King James” as he is known around the NBA, is worth a jaw-dropping $300 million according to CelebrityNetWorth.com. In this past season alone he cashed in $44 million in endorsements. His salary to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals was a staggering $21.57 million. While he gets paid for his jump shots and slam-dunks, it’s his business savvy that continues to grow his bank account year after year.
Most players who are unrestricted free-agents three times within six years would struggle to make the veterans minimum, or would be nothing more than a journey man making a few million a season, but not LBJ. The King has played the front-office game to perfection and signed deals that benefit him the most with eager teams to hurry-up and sign the superstar so their team stores can start pumping out his jerseys.
Last summer when James returned to the Cavaliers he signed a two-year $42.1 million deal with a player option for the second year. James did this so he could opt out after the first year and likely resign a new two-year deal for more money. We can be assured the second year will include a player-option. Through these options, he can continuously opt-out year after year and sign higher deals as the salary cap increases. With the NBA television deal coming into effect in the summer of 2016, team’s caps will skyrocket into 9 digits, making the players that much richer. Players who have been in the league more than 7 years, such as James, can receive contracts worth no higher than 35% of the team’s salary cap. Last season his percentage brought him a $21 million salary. Next season, he can earn $29 million. At the next negotiation the following year, he will command over $35 million per year. If you are still wondering why he signs one-year deals, he will earn a $14 million raise in these next 24 months.
As of today if James were to sign a 4-year deal, at his 35%, the value of the entire contract would be roughly $95 million. If he signs two more two-year deals with player options, and opts out both times, he could sign a four or five year deal in 2017 that would be valued at over $205 million.
The risk of course is injury, or a decrease in production, but considering James has never missed more than 20 games in any season during his 12-year career, he has a good history to believe in. The real concern would likely be wear-and-tear on his body. Since 2006, James has competed in the NBA playoffs every season, and has always advanced into at least the second round. The past five years he has played in the NBA Finals, adding extra 20-23 games to his season. Since 2011, he has played in 96 playoff games. That is a lot of extra basketball, and for a player who turned 30 in December, it could catch up to him sooner than later.
LeBron James has figured the game out, and I am not referring to the sport of basketball. He and his team have studied the salary caps and know all the numbers, and with the Cleveland Cavaliers despite to make sure their franchise player doesn’t leave them again, he will get the max deal for as long as laces up his signature sneakers.
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