By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
June 7, 2013
As the Miami Heat fight for their second-straight NBA championship, the team could be in a very difficult situation next summer when each of the team’s Big Three can become a free agent. Of course, while all three of the Heat’s stars are in similar situations, most of the intrigue surrounds what MVP LeBron James is going to do. To be fair, LeBron hasn’t given any indication that he will or won’t opt out after next season. If he doesn’t he’ll have two years and $42 million remaining under his contract with the Heat.
The wise move for LeBron, whether or not he plans to stay in Miami, is to opt out of the deal. Doing so would give him the opportunity to sign another max contract. The Heat, by resigning LeBron, could give him more money than any other team, somewhere in the neighborhood of $120 million over five years. Other teams would be limited to about $90 million over four years. While it’s nothing more than pure speculation at this point, the Lakers and Cavs have been mentioned as possible destinations should LeBron leave.
As for off-court earning, LeBron already makes approximately $40 million annually just from sponsorship deals with Nike, Samsung, and Baskin-Robbins, among others. He’s one of the few superstars so transcendent that his endorsement opportunities wouldn’t fluctuate based on where he plays. Wherever he decides to play may not have a big impact on his financial future, but it will have tremendous impact on the NBA’s balance of power.