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No three-year deals this time for LeBron, Wade

May 27, 2010, 1:27 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for James_Thumbsup.jpgIt was a brilliant bit of strategy by LeBron James last time he was a free agent — with a six-year deal offered, he negotiated it down to just three years (about $60 million over the three years).

It was brilliant because kept his options open. It kept pressure on the Cavaliers organization to build a winner around him (they tried and brought in a number of quality players but never won). Dwyane Wade liked the idea so much he did the same thing in Miami.

Could it happen again? Could LeBron — wherever he lands — and Wade take three-year deals one more time?

Don’t bet on it.

While nobody has said anything officially, there is one key difference this time around — a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is being negotiated. (Or being talked about being negotiated, as the case may be.) While nobody knows exactly what the new CBA will entail, it likely will have a reduction in the amount of a maximum salary and the length of that contract. All deals may also not be fully guaranteed.

LeBron, Wade, Chris Bosh and other free agents would be foolish to leave money on the table, and taking a three year deal rather than the five a new team can offer (or six from the current team to stay or in a sign-and-trade) would be just that. These guys are smart, they will not leave money behind.

Everyone will be looking for a max deal for the full length, even non-max guys will be looking to get deals to last them into the new CBA.

That doesn’t mean LeBron and Wade couldn’t negotiate an opt-out after three years. That would give them some leverage and put pressure on the teams to build and maintain a winner. But if a player did opt out, he would have to negotiate under whatever the rules are in place from a new CBA. That means they would be costing themselves money to get out of town. Things would have to be pretty bad for that to happen.

Simply put, it will be different for LeBron and Wade this time because it’s always all about the money.

  1. banner18 - May 28, 2010 at 11:22 AM

    This is good news for the Cavs and Heat. They can offer $30 million more and an extra year to keep them. And so both will stay.

  2. CHESTER - May 28, 2010 at 11:36 AM

    I understand it’s a business and you must get all that you can. But you must thinkof the number of people tha will be attending because of the price of tickets. The more you make the more you want. You cannot spent all the money that you make and when you die it will go to someone that did not even work for it.They in turn will spen it like mad.
    the more you make the more TAXES you pay and that BIG old HOUSE that you live in. Just think of the taxes you will be paying every year.
    Nobody plays sports for the PRIDE any more. The self and team accomplishments that you get. If you make a BILLION dollars and never win a championship then you really accomplish nothing. Playing in any professional sports the ultimate goal is to win it all.

  3. torrance247 - May 28, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    Why does the media hate the cleveland cavaliers so much? they are so sure bron james will leave. i mean he is playing games with the fans emotions, but i dated enough women to know when somebody is playing hard to get. beware media. dan gilbert is smarter than you know,the cavs. may have to max guys by next season.

  4. terry - May 29, 2010 at 8:21 AM

    The amount of money Lebron James will make in his next contract no matter where he goes (or stays) is guaranteed to be absurd. That is a given.
    The amount of money he has already made is absurd. That is a well-known fact.
    He wants to win. The Cavs have had 7 years to come up with the teammates he needs to win an NBA title or two and they don’t seem to have done it.

  5. nnod - May 31, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    Yeah, but you also have to see that LBJ is also a big part of the problem as well. How many FA’s passed on the Cavs because of Le Bron’s lack of commitment? Before you criticize the Cavs for what they have accomplished you better recognize that. If you think of what the Cavs have done without his commitment, just think of what they could have done had they had LeBron’s commitment.
    They most likely would have already had their title by now. I personally thinks that he owes it to them to stay. He’s held that team captive and handcuffed them for years. With a longer commitment they could make some moves, move some people and turn things around quickly.

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