07-10-2006, 07:52 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Southern KY
Re: Lebron agrees to contract extensio
not so fast:
LeBron James showed himself to be a shrewd businessman as an 18-year-old when he signed gigantic endorsement contracts before even entering the league. The Cleveland Cavaliers star may have pulled off another smart deal.
Sources have told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith that James has agreed to a four-year extension worth approximately $60 million, and he can opt out of the deal after three seasons. It had been widely reported that James would sign a five-year, $80 million maximum contract Wednesday. He could have very good reason to settle for less now.
With the NBA's collective bargaining agreement set to expire at the end of the 2011-12 season, James could be positioning himself for an even bigger payday as a free agent when the cap goes up. Under a new agreement, James and other big stars could be in line for deals in the neighborhood of six years and up to $150 million.
Unlike others from his draft class, James waited one week to agree to the Cavs' contract offer. Cleveland, which saw Carlos Boozer bolt for Utah after verbally agreeing to a deal, started to worry. It could be that James' representatives and the Cavaliers were fine-tuning this aspect of his deal.
No contract can be signed until Wednesday, after the league sets the salary cap for teams. That will establish the exact figure for a "max contract," a number that only the Cavaliers, as the team that drafted James, can offer him.
James is heading into the final year of his rookie contract and will earn $5.8 million this season. He would have been eligible for restricted free agency in 2008, but James has said all along that he wanted to return to Cleveland, which is close to his hometown of Akron.
"I am very excited and happy to be re-signing with the Cavaliers. Staying in Cleveland ... provides me with the unique opportunity to continue to play in front of my family, friends and fans," James said in a statement released by his publicist this week. "I look forward to working toward bringing a championship to our great fans and the city of Cleveland."
That a superstar would ask to be paid less than that max would be a groundbreaking maneuver. Then again, James has made a habit of redefining the league. Last year, he became the youngest player in NBA history to average at least 30 points per game over the course of a season. His averages of 31.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game allowed him to join Oscar Robertson, Jerry West and Michael Jordan as the only players in NBA history to average at least 30 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists in a single season.
Now, he could be in line for even more record-setting numbers, these ones on his paycheck. How this affects other superstars around the league remains to be seen. Miami's Dwyane Wade and Denver's Carmelo Anthony also agreed to max contracts this past week. According to Smith, James discussed the deal he was planning to sign with those players. LeBron could be leading the league again ... in business acumen.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
"My mission is to be the ray of hope, the guy who stands out there on that beautiful field and owns up to his mistakes and lets people know it's never completely hopeless, no matter how bad it seems at the time. I have a platform and a message, and now I go to bed at night, sober and happy, praying I can be a good messenger." -Josh Hamilton