LeBron James has never been the highest paid player on his team during the 11 seasons he has been in the NBA. He now has the chance to finally do so, being that he is the best player in the NBA as he can get a max deal in this year’s free agency.
James will be entering this year’s free agency period with a very different mindset and plan than 2010, and according to ESPN, he will be seeking no less than the maximum contract salary. Team who contact James when free agency begins on midnight will be informed about his intentions.
The max number is projected to be a little over $22 million. James took a pay cut back in 2010 to join the Heat, but after seeing his play over the past four years, the four-time MVP is definitely deserving of a max contract.
Only seven teams (Heat, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers, Orlando Magic) have enough cap space to offer James the $22.2 million salary he is seeking.
The Lakers and Suns are expected to be serious bidders. Other teams like the Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls would have to make deals and other moves to clear enough cap space to acquire James and his max contract.
The Heat, however, is James’ first option as the team to sign with. Since he will be wanting the max, it will require Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to take pay cuts, which they seem comfortable in doing so. James also may be flexible in the length of his deal, so a four-to-five-year contract may not be what he’s looking for then.
Another difference for James in this year’s free agency as that he is not scheduling pitch meetings. He did six in 2010, but agent Rich Paul will now handle and conduct all of those for 2014.
It’s going to be an interesting free agency, folks. It might just be even bigger than 2010.