Culture of Hoops

LeBron James laments NBA’s salary cap

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

Baller Mind Frame’s No Layups brings you the hottest NBA stories on the web mixed with personal opinion from our very own Aaron Lanton

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

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