LeBron James has been ahead of the herd on contract management for most of his career. He helped position himself for in the new collective bargaining agreement which implies his latest forward-looking approach could be worth almost $100 million.
The new deal, which still must be approved by the owners and players’ union, alters the “over-36 rule” to the “over-38” rule. Formerly, teams could not sign players to four or five-year contracts if the player turned 36 before Oct. 1 of one of the years of the contract. By moving the rule back two years, James is in a position to sign a five-year contract in 2018; sources told ESPN.
James’ health, overall player market and other factors make it hard to know what he might sign for in 2018. However, projections show he could ink up to $210 million if he stays with the Cleveland Cavaliers for five years. Before the rule change, he would have been able to sign for only three years with an estimated $90 million to $100 million less at age 33.
James said that the rule change wasn’t about his earning power.
The rule change also could benefit Chris Paul, who would be entitled to sign a five-year contract with the LA Clippers for up to $210 million. Paul can sign for four years under the current rules. It could be worth up to $50 million more to him, depending on how the deal sets up.
The change likewise supports other more seasoned players who are gone to free agency in their mid-30s. Stars like Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade, who can be a free agent next summer in the wake of building a quit proviso into his arrangement with the Chicago Bulls.
The new CBA also included many provisions that raised salaries of lower-paid players. Minimum wages, rookie salaries and the midlevel alongside biannual exceptions, all were increased by 45 percent across the board.
Retiree benefits were also vastly increased, doubling pensions for players who start taking the dividends after age 50.
Here is some LeBron and Chris shenanigans: