LeBron James is similar to Michael Jordan not in playing style but in the fact that he has been the face of the NBA for several years now and has made less money than his counterparts. King James has also been regarded by many, for years, as the best player on the planet but his overall playing salary has never reflected such. But that might all be about to change. Peep Game
Since returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James has been signing one-year contracts with the team (often with a player option for the second year).
This does two things. First, it keeps pressure on the Cavaliers to keep improving the team, knowing James can leave each summer.
However, it also earns LeBron a ton more money.
When LeBron re-joined the Cavaliers in 2014, the Cavs didn’t yet own his Bird Rights, which means his year-over-year raises in a contract were 4.5% and he could only sign four-year contracts. After three years, the Cavs can re-gain his Bird Rights, allowing LeBron to sign a five-year deal with 7.5% raises each season.
However, LeBron has surely had his eyes on the incoming TV deal, which will go into effect after this season, thus bringing in a ton of money and causing the salary cap to explode.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe dropped a nugget in his column on Tuesday, stating that teams are working under the assumption that the salary cap for the 2016-17 season will be $92 million. That’s more than a $20 million jump from this season’s salary cap ($70 million) — it’s also $3 million more than anticipated, as most people believed next season’s cap would land around $88 or $89 million.
So, when James goes to re-sign with the Cavaliers this summer (assuming he once again opts out), there will be even more money for him. Since James has been in the league for over 10 years and has been with the Cavs for two years now, he’s eligible for a four-year contract with 7.5% raises at 35% of the salary cap.
So, if James chooses a long-term contract this offseason, his base salary would start at $30.3 million. A 7.5% raise on that would bring him to $33.04 million in 2017-18. For a four-year contract, James could earn about $135 million.