LeBron James says he was amazed and a little jealous when he heard Detroit Tigers star Miguel Cabrera signed a contract Friday that guarantees him $292 million over the next 10 years.
“I said ‘wow,’ ” James said before the Miami Heat played the Detroit Pistons on Friday. “I wish we (the NBA) didn’t have a salary cap.”
Baseball, of course, does not have a salary cap. The NBA does, and players with James’ experience level are capped at earning 35 percent of the $58 million salary cap and can sign for no more than five years.
James will earn $19 million this season with the Heat, tied with teammate Chris Bosh for the ninth-highest in the NBA as part of a six-year, $109 million deal he signed in 2010.
“He’s the best player in baseball, and the best players in each sport should be rewarded,” James said. “It’d be nice to sign a 10-year deal worth $300 million.”
James earns about $40 million per year off the floor in endorsements, most of that coming from his deal with Nike, which reportedly is worth $19 million per year.
Forbes Magazine ranked James fourth among all athletes in total earnings earlier this year with more than $60 million — twice what Alex Rodriguez was paid. ESPN
The only player in the NBA with a contract comparable to Cabrera’s is Kobe Bryant with his recent two-year extension worth $48.5 million. Bryant will have a 20-year tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers once that contract is complete, but his annual salary is still dwarfed by Cabrera’s salary.
If the players truly feel that a salary cap should not be in place, they should have decertified during the most recent lockout. In fairness, this was a complicated period that the player’s union has not yet recovered from. There are a lot of complications to this that I wouldn’t even be allowed to get into, but the players will likely never have a salary cap-less league. They can thank the latest CBA for that. – AL