Maybe the most interesting development and twist in the story of LeBron James and his next decision has to be the alleged demand for a max contract, which wouldn’t be surprising coming from anyone else, but from everything we’ve seen and heard from the player about his desire to win championships and the things he did and gave to join the Miami Heat last time, it was quite an unexpected turn of events.
So it seems James is just like everybody else after all. He’s hungry for titles, for that possible recognition of an all-time great. However, he seems to be done giving out handouts. As the best player in the NBA, he wants to make maximum money, which means around $20.7 million next season. The Heat, obviously, can offer him more than anyone else: About $126 million for the next five seasons. Others can give him $96 million over four years.
Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade? They’re not getting maximum money, not from the Heat. It’s interesting to tell see if this was a decision they made together, or they’re in a mode of each to his own at the moment. After winning two titles together and talking about staying together and winning, it might be a bit hard to understand how much of a blow to their confidence, ego and view of the future was losing to the San Antonio Spurs in five games.
The Heat, at the moment, have more cap space than any other team in the NBA, with just under $55 million to spend. Most of it, obviously, will be going on their Big Three or at least intended to. Pat Riley has said a number of times his original plan was to retool the team based on the notion that all three players opt in. Things changed, and it seems there will be a window for him to show them what moves he’s willing to make in improving the team.
And James? Now it’s up to his agent, Rich Paul, waiting for teams to contact him. The Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks seems to be the first to reach out to him. All three can add at least one max contract this offseason, with the Suns in a position to add two. Other interested parties like the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets and Cleveland Cavaliers will need to initiate a sign & trade with the Heat in order to make that work.
James averaged 27.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game last season. An MVP in everything but name, going to Kevin Durant. However, he needs help to win NBA titles, as every other star in the history of this league which sometimes people tend to forget. But it’s no longer just about the rings on his finger. It’s also about the money he makes, for whatever reason he might have to change his direction. It might actually give him a chance to become the first player in NBA history with MVP awards on three different teams.