LeBron James is without question the best player in the NBA. However, he’s number nine on the payroll, right between Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
The Heat are a small market team, a team that couldn’t afford the talent they have on the Heat roster at their full value. This season alone, Rudy Gay and James Harden have both been traded to markets that can afford their contracts. James could have sign with any team in the league and they would have been able to give him the maximum deal, he is statistically entitled too. The catch was, he couldn’t have the talent around him that he needs to win a championship.
There are a select few teams that could have signed Wade, Bosh and James at their full value. If James wanted a championship and a maximum-level contract, he would have had to go to a large market team to get it.
However, James doesn’t think that any team can pay him enough.
James told ESPN, “What I do on the floor shows my value. At the end of the day, I don’t think my value on the floor can really be compensated for, anyways, because of the (collective bargaining agreement).”
These are some confident words for a man who gets paid over $17 million dollars a year to put a ball in a hoop. Sure, it’s a talent and an art, but at the end of the day, James is more than financially compensated for the work that he does.
The Heat fired their entire sales department when James signed. The super team wouldn’t need to sell tickets because tickets would sell themselves. These people didn’t complain to ESPN. In this bad economy, the people who aren’t struggling don’t get to complain.
Technically, James is underpaid, but he made the choice to be underpaid.
“I don’t get (the credit) for it. That doesn’t matter to me; playing the game is what matters to me. Financially, I’ll sacrifice for the team. It shows for some of the top guys, it isn’t all about money. That’s the genuine side of this, it’s about winning. I understand that.”
James made his own decisions, and he doesn’t deserve credit for being underpaid when he made the choice to be underpaid. James was a free agent, every NBA team would have happily given him a max deal.
He doesn’t deserve a pat on the back for moving to south beach to play with his friends.
James has enough rich friends. He should have complained to them, not ESPN.