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LeBron says Wade is “getting that Kobe deal” in next contract. Should he?

Dec 3, 2013, 2:48 PM EDT

Chicago Bulls vs Miami Heat Getty Images

If the Miami Heat’s big three of Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James all decided not to opt out and came back to the Heat under their current contracts, they would make a combined $61.3 million next season. Next year’s salary cap is currently projected to be $62.9 million.

However, all three of them can and may well opt out and seek longer, potentially richer deals (LeBron and Bosh almost certainly will, Wade seems likely unless he only wants to play a couple more years). Those potentially larger salaries could really hamstring management’s ability to put a good enough team around those three to win a title.

All of which came up in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s extension with the Lakers. Kobe will make $48.5 million over the next two seasons, which is a paycut from the $30 million a year he makes but also will leave him the highest paid player in the league. That money going to Kobe cuts into the cap space the Lakers would have had available to put players around him. A lot of people expected Kobe to take a Tim Duncan sized contract (he went from $21 million down to $9.6 million) and there was some frustration in Los Angeles.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com tried to ask Wade about if he would take a paycut.

LeBron James answered for him.

“D-Wade is getting that Kobe deal,” James said from the next locker

Wade, knowing the gravity of this issue, smiled and shook his head. Then he gave a more diplomatic answer.

“When I get into that position, it’s something I’ll think about,” Wade said. “You have to sit down at the time and see what is best for you and for your team.”

That’s vague, but what else do you expect Wade to say?

At this point the discussion is largely theoretical. How this all plays out will depend on a lot of things, including how the Heat do in the playoffs this season. All three took a little bit less money in 2010 to come together, would they be willing to take more of a cut to stay together? Would Wade be willing to make a larger sacrifice? Or does Bosh decide he wants to be the star somewhere else and bolt? How much luxury tax is Miami’s ownership willing to pay?

All of these conversations will happen with agents on some level before July 1, when all of them can be free agents. Both management and the players have some hard questions to answer before then.

  1. fanofevilempire - Dec 3, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    the King just sheet on Wade.

    • spthegr8 - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:56 PM

      I like D Wade a lot and respect his game and everything he has done for the Heat………..BUT he ain’t worth that much bread. Say what you want about the Kobe contract extension but, the Buss family will make ( & have made ) their $ off Kobe. I just hope they have enough $ too bring in other players with the rather large contract they gave him. D Wade isn’t the main attraction on this Heat team. Just Saying”!!!

      • shanelsweet - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:30 PM

        Pretty sure Gabe Union got him those TV and book deals, but I agree he seems like a pretty smart and decent guy. He deserves the max for what he’s done for Miami, and for what he can probably still do at an elite level. Just like Kobe in LA. When LeBron leaves for Cleveland and Bosh goes to Dallas, they’ll both get max deals too. Won’t that make it fun trying to guess who’s going to win it all?

      • program33 - Dec 5, 2013 at 1:14 PM

        @spthegr8 I agree. I also take the comment of LBJ as sign that he is seriously contemplating leaving Miami.

  2. losanginsight - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    It sounds like this mini- baby dynasty has run its course. 61 mil for 3 players won’t get it done. After not winning a ring this season LBJ knows that Bosh will leave and take a max deal in Dallas. LBJ will most likely go back to Cleveland and play with Kyrie. So this leaves Wade on his own team with Pat Riley having to pay Wade whatever he wants. No team in this new CBA will be able to sign 3 max players again. Good run Mia. 1* Ring and 1 legit ring.

  3. senorpapino - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    I really don’t think Bosh is opting out. Averaging 14 and 6 is not going to get him more than the ~20 million per year he is set to earn til 2016.

    • bucrightoff - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:06 PM

      The Mavericks will gladly overpay for the right to finally “win” a “big” free agent sweepstakes. If Bosh’s agents know the Mavs will do it, he will opt out.

    • losanginsight - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:31 PM

      Bosh’s number are limited because He’s on the same team as LBJ.

      • bigmizzax - Dec 8, 2013 at 9:27 PM

        Bosh’s numbers are limited because he is very limited as a player.

    • JHathwell - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:33 PM

      It’s already common knowledge that Cuban and the Mavs want Bosh.

      Beside that, Bosh’s minutes are down but his per 36’s are in line with where they’ve been over the last few years and it’s pretty silly to call a 29 year old over the hill.

      • profoundtoo - Dec 4, 2013 at 5:29 AM

        No way Cuban pays Bosh 20M! Bosh ain’t leaving unless they pack his bags and buy his ticket out of Miami. He’s good, but he hasn’t been in a position to showcase his ability to average 20 a game.

      • JHathwell - Dec 4, 2013 at 3:07 PM

        Your speaking like you have knowledge of Mark Cuban’s plans and/or the inner workings of the Mavs braintrust.

        Do you?

    • kinggw - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:03 PM

      Bosh is a max player. People who know the game and GMs know this.

      There are guys who are about putting up empty numbers and there are guys who are about winning, clearly Bosh is the latter.

      Since he’s become a member of the Heat his points per game and rebounds per game averages have gone down, but he’s become a much more efficient offensive player and a much better defender.

      If Bosh decides to opt out and test free agency he will have no problem commanding a max or near max deal.

      • jeromepc01 - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:15 PM

        He didn’t like a better defender last night against Detroit. Didn’t look very efficient on offense either. There’s lots of players that can make the lay-ups he makes cause LeBron draws the entire defense his way (and rightfully so).

  4. psung26 - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    Kobe has been tagged as selfish and “not wanting to really win” for taking the deal he did. Who perpetuates that label? Billionaire owners looking to lowball superstars, and they’re getting away with it because of vindication from fans who have no financial skin in the game and want to see their teams win, even if every player was getting paid pennies.

    Who liked Kobe’s move? It’s becoming apparent from stories like this: the players. Kobe took his deal and bore the PR backlash as a selfish gunner with no real desire to win, but at the same time, trailblazed the way for future stars in this league to get paid what they are worth. This disturbing owner-centric trend where a player is labeled a loser for not taking a steep hometown discount is finally abating.

    • antistratfordian - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:23 PM

      I wouldn’t say the players “liked” the move – but they know through their own experiences that you can’t criticize a player for doing what they think “is right for their family” whether that be by contract size or if that means leaving a team in free agency, etc. You just rarely see players get criticized for that by other players (unless it has to do with LeBron).

      But that doesn’t mean these guys would do the same thing as Kobe if they were in the same position, obviously some of them wouldn’t. In this case, if the Heat offered Wade that Kobe-sized salary, I don’t think he would take it.

      • cwilson6843 - Dec 3, 2013 at 5:06 PM

        Oh god I hate the whole “what’s right for my family” bullcrap. Kobe is a multimillionaire! Its not like he has a regular 9-5 making $10/hr and somebody asks him to take a pay cut. He’s a multimillionaire once again and the leader and face of the Lakers franchise. So yea him taking that deal proves that kobe is all about kobe and forget the team. Real leaders take sacrifices. If kobe takes a pay cut his family will still have a mansion with maids and butlers and a lavish lifestyle. Save the crap please

      • ranfan12 - Dec 3, 2013 at 6:28 PM

        Lakers shouldn’t have given him the money then lol. Could’ve let him walk, or at least wait until free agency. They obviously didn’t want another drama filled offseason so did what it took to secure someone. I’d blame them just as much, if not more than Kobe.

      • cwilson6843 - Dec 3, 2013 at 8:45 PM

        @ranfan everyone knows that kobe is more important to the lakers than actually winning. That’s why they kicked shaq to the curb. The point is kobe could have declined very easily and asked for less money to get better talent around him. To me it seems like a 6th ring is no longer important to him

    • therealhtj - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:46 PM

      As a fan, I really don’t care what anyone gets paid so long as the team wins. Owners, players, and everyone in between, none of fans us should give a holy crap.

      The players took this deal because if was the only one they were getting without a hard cap and non-guaranteed contracts.

      Who really got screwed were the 280 or so middle class players. Superstars and rookies will continue to get paid more or less what they always have, but everyone in between will continue to get squeezed. These 280 sheep could’ve simply opted for a deal where a max contract is worth 15% of the cap in any given situation – they’d certainly have the votes for it. 15%, no more, no less, no grandfathering, no other shenanigans and certainly not the 25-30% deals with even fatter raises they’re currently getting.

      Of course the podunk markets wouldn’t stand for this either as the stars they’re lucky enough to draft are definitely gone first chance they get.

      Would it be fair that a superstar can ONLY command around $18 million/yr maximum? It’s certainly no more unfair than some dude eating his way out of the league and taking up a huge chunk of cap space.

      Personally I’d prefer a fully free market system, but you may as well contract 12 teams right off the bat you do that.

      Teams want to win. Fans wants their teams to win. I know this is hard for you aspiring Che Guevaras to accept, but as fans, we’re on the same side as the owners, like it or not. Now think hard, do you honestly care if the likes Kobe Bryant or D Wade get around 15 million a year vs. 25?

    • topdawg4ever - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:36 PM

      Trailblazing? Hardly. In fact, a deal like Kobe’s will be in the minority in the years to come because of the CBA.

      • psung26 - Dec 3, 2013 at 7:50 PM

        Does Lebron make the same reference “get that Kobe deal” without Kobe’s deal?

        “Get that Kobe deal” is now an acceptable mantra to have, even in the wake of the new CBA.

  5. Mr. Wright 212 - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    Wade shouldn’t at this stage of his career. The moves that Pat Riley makes this summer will speak volumes about the NBA landscape from 2015-2020.

    • profoundtoo - Dec 4, 2013 at 5:40 AM

      I think the difference between kobe and wade is health. Wade doesn’t have a meniscus in his knee, and he can’t string 5 games together. He knew his career would be shortened, but he shouldn’t get a kobe deal cause he can’t play an 82 game schedule. I say let him take a paycut and give him a basketball job for life like they did Zo. Or sale him some cheap stock in that cruise line. Just take care of him like the lakers did Magic; Spurs did Robinson. It’s crazy to pay a player that much do ray me if he can’t suit up. That’s going to breed animosity throughout the team. Besides, if he continues to try and play on that leg, he’s going to be on a cane when he retires, or have a permanent limp.

  6. antistratfordian - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    The way some players are getting paid these days… yes, Wade absolutely should. Probably more so than Kobe at this point considering recent history.

  7. miamiheatdynasty - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    3rd best SG ever behind MJ and Kobe. Nuff said.

    • antistratfordian - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:24 PM

      He’s better than Kobe, in my opinion. More well rounded. So is Jerry West, for that matter.

      • JHathwell - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:44 PM

        “More well rounded”

        Sure.

        Let’s see: 7 more dominant seasons under his belt, 15,000 more points, 6 more all-star appearances, 2 more rings, better outside shooter, 12 times voted All-Defense (vs 3 for wade) and Kobe had a historical season for a 34 year old guard while 32 year old Wade has been steadily declining for 3 years.

        And I’ll bet the entire body of your argument is “look at the PER’s, bro!”.

        I have to give it you. If nothing else, you are completely content to make yourself look stupid, day after day. Your hate for Kobe runs that deep.

        It’s somewhat admirable, I must admit.

      • antistratfordian - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:04 PM

        Wade and West are better passers, better teammates and better leaders than Kobe. That’s what I meant by more well-rounded. They were all good scorers and good defenders.

      • unxpexted1 - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:50 PM

        Laughable. Kobe has been able to everything that wade can do and has the added range that D Wade lacks. No he is not better than Kobe., and he can barely stay on the court the last couple years and he’s almost what, 5 years younger?

      • antistratfordian - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:06 PM

        Kobe can do anything Wade can do? I’d like to see Kobe average 30 points and 7.5 assists in a season. I’d like to see Kobe average 7.5 assists in ANY season.

        Not happening because Kobe can’t do that.

      • spthegr8 - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:24 PM

        @Anti
        The little bit of credibility you had is GOOOOONE now.

      • spthegr8 - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:26 PM

        I’ve been trying not too feed the “Troll” but, that was just BLASPHEMOUS!!!!!

      • antistratfordian - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:28 PM

        LOL. You clowns are hopeless. Here…

        I’ll let Kobe explain in his own words why he’s not as well rounded as D.Wade:

        With Shaq, I had to do something that I naturally don’t do: be the quarterback. The responsibility of getting him the ball fell on me. That’s not what I do.

        And this Kobe gem (via Antawn Jamison):

        Look, you guys as my teammates, yell at me. Let me know that you’re open because I’m so programmed. I see nothing but that basket. You could be open, there could be three guys on me, but the only thing I see is that basket so you have to tell me, Look, I was open.

        You don’t have to yell at Wade to let him know that you’re open. Wade is not programmed to be a blind ball hog. Wade and West are scoring champions, all-defensive level players, who are also is natural quarterbacks.

        End of story. The debate is over.

      • spthegr8 - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:34 PM

        “You Clowns are hopeless”……..& You “Trolls” are Clueless!!

      • spthegr8 - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:37 PM

        One thing about you Anti. You reach for the Star’s with your “Trolling”. It’s TRULY laughable, Some of the S**T you come up with. SMFH!!!

      • antistratfordian - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:47 PM

        I didn’t “come up” with that. Those are Kobe’s own words. By his own admission, he’s “programmed” to not see open teammates. He’s not a good “quarterback.” I don’t know why you act like there is another reality where Kobe sees open teammates and is naturally good at passing.

        And Kobe’s poor vision leads to poor shot selection – essentially he said, “there could be three guys on me, my teammates can be wide open, and I’ll still shoot it!”

        Kobe is not as well rounded as Wade, who is naturally good at everything (scoring, vision, passing, rebounding, defense, leadership).

        This debate is OVAH!

      • fanofevilempire - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:50 PM

        did you have a few drinks?

      • antistratfordian - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:55 PM

        In what world is Kobe as good of a passer, or as willing of a passer, as Wade or West? You’d have to be drunk to think that he is – well, either drunk or just your average, completely delusional, Kobe fan.

      • musician0785 - Dec 3, 2013 at 5:34 PM

        trolling at its finest

      • shuttaman1990 - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:13 AM

        Better than kobe? are you out of your mind???
        HE’S YOUNGER THAN KOBE AND STILL CANT PLAY AT THE SAME LEVEL KOBE IS PLAYING!

      • antistratfordian - Dec 4, 2013 at 3:56 PM

        Can’t play at the same level as Kobe? Last year Dwyane Wade and LeBron James were the only two players in the league to average at least 20/5/5 on 50% shooting or better – and Wade had a higher PER than Kobe as well.

        So I think you may be mistaken.

    • sportsfan18 - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:38 PM

      Closer than you think.

      Career PER

      D Wade 25.4 7th ALL TIME by the way
      Kobe 23.4 20th all time

      Career True Shooting Percentage

      D Wade 79th all time currently
      Kobe 131st all time currently

      Career Win Share per 48 min’s

      D Wade .194 higher is better here folks 22nd ALL TIME
      Kobe .183 31st all time

      There are more stats that favor D Wade than just these too, just as there are some stats that favor Kobe too.

      But D Wade is on Kobe’s heels. D Wade could pick up his 4th title to Kobe’s five this season too.

      • unxpexted1 - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:57 PM

        So basically you’re argument is that he’s better than Kobe because he’s more efficient?

        You can be efficient at something, but not be the best at something.

        A Kia sol might have better gas mileage which makes it more efficient…..but lets face it, there’s nothing like German engineering.(Kobe’s leg is literally german engineered).

      • genericcommenter - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:19 PM

        Yeah, unxpexted1,

        All these guys are Kias:

        1. Michael Jordan* 27.91
        2. LeBron James 27.70
        3. Shaquille O’Neal 26.43
        4. David Robinson* 26.18
        5. Wilt Chamberlain* 26.13
        6. Chris Paul 25.60
        7. Dwyane Wade 25.45

        In fact, every player in the Top 25 is a HOFer, except for 1 guy who probably won’t make it due to injury. The Leaders in PER are always ELITE players.

        I don’t think efficiency means what you thinks it means in this context. Efficiency requires production/performance at a very high level.

      • sportsfan18 - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:57 PM

        Reading comprehension there Mr. unexpexted1

        I said it’s “closer” than you think (but Kobe is still better).

        Later on, I said “D Wade is on Kobe’s heels” (again meaning Kobe is better).

        Yet you write that I said D Wade is better than Kobe.

        I did NOT say D Wade was better than Kobe.

        I said he was closer to being as good as Kobe than most people probably realize or think.

        I also admitted that there are stats that favor Kobe too (although I didn’t list them).

        Why are you saying that I said D Wade is better?

      • asimonetti88 - Dec 3, 2013 at 5:22 PM

        lol. PER.

      • dirtydavis - Dec 3, 2013 at 8:19 PM

        @sportsfan 18

        LMAO!!! Advance stats??? When was the last time Dwade played a full season? Any who I do agree that Dwade is right behind Kobe… in advance stats that is

    • fanofevilempire - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:51 PM

      what?

  8. trollaikman8 - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    Nope.

  9. ramrodmclean - Dec 3, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    LeBron wants D-Wade to take a Kobe-level contract so he’ll have an excuse to bail. Classic LeBron weaseling

  10. doc305 - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    Wade will ultimately look at how him staying in Miami or leaving will affect his endorsements. I think many people fail to realize that for many of the top tier players, endorsements can be more important than their actual NBA contracts. For DWade this is especially true considering he recently signed with a Chinese shoe manufacturer, history, and Kobe for that matter, tells us that if your name can sell in China, you can make big bucks. And in China what sells is the champions… I think Lebron and Wade are just blowing smoke by implying that they would need a Kobe sized contract ( nothing against the guy, he took what was offered, I would too). Ultimately they are looking big picture, the more championships you win, the more money you make, regardless of what the NBA is paying you.

  11. doc305 - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    Not to mention the sock company he has started, the book he’s written, and didn’t he just sell the rights to his book to make a sit com with fox? He’s not a dumb guy, most of these things are coming to him because he has been smart, and more importantly, he has won championships. The only way to continue to grow and expand on that is to continue winning.

  12. miamatt - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    This is nothing more than a player backing up his buddy publicly for negotiating purposes. I doubt the Heat would make an insulting contract offer, but Riley will once again try to sell them on personal sacrifice for team success, and what that success will mean for their respective legacies when they finally hang up their respective sneakers.

    This is just LBJ saying, “don’t think we’ll be playing for peanuts to save tax dollars…”

    LBJ also knows he came to Wade’s team and became the national face of the franchise, and he respects what that means.

  13. heat256 - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    It’s simple: If Wade wants to be paid highly, he will, knowing it will ruin the chances to add quality pieces to compete for titles. Wade is very aware of the feeling of working hard during the regular season only to be bounced out in the first round of the playoffs (see 2010 playoff series vs BOS for citation). He knows that winning more cements his legacy, and builds his brand. I see him taking a 4 year, $40 million deal and allowing the Heat to add at least one more decent quality player to take the burden off him as he saves himself the wear and tear. I am sure he is having more fun winning titles than playing 38 minutes a game and barely going above .500 himself. You can be paid highly or recruit good guys. You can’t have both anymore.

  14. chargerdillon - Dec 3, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    All I have to say is this. Let’s put Kobe with Lebron and see how they work out.

    I’ve always hated Wade because I felt he often times took some pretty cheapshots on guys and got away with that. That being said, Kobe has done the exact same thing, I’m just a Lakers fan so I identify the bias.

    Kobe existed in the NBA as was considered by many far and away THE BEST PLAYER in the NBA for many years. Dwayne always put up big points and was always flashy as his nickname implies but Kobe won 2 rings without Shaq and was the best player on his team when he did it. Wade has won 1 ring with shaq and 2 rings with Lebron. You can make the case the only time his team won a championship with him as the best player was with Shaq and even that is questionable.

    Take Lebron away from the Heat and you have a very good playoff team that isn’t the current champion they are.

    Facts are just facts. If we’re talking about Kobe and Wade we are talking about to secondary top-scoring players that if are considered the current best players on their team, also mean they are not championship-bound.

    This is Lebron’s world and I’m pretty sure Wade much unlike Kobe is humble enough to recognize that.

    • sdlakerfan - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:48 AM

      Not questionable at all that Wade was the best player with an old Shaq. Was one of the greatest single-handed finals efforts in history. And he came up big in the key finals games last yr too – he may not always be great but seems like when they need a huge performance from Wade he’s still got it. Wade averaged 34.7 pts in the 2006 finals. Shaq averaged 13.7 pts. Questionable?

    • patsfan92 - Dec 4, 2013 at 11:56 AM

      questionable!? anybody with a fuctioning brain knows WADE was the best player on the 06 heat. NO DISCUSSION. of course he wouldnt have won without shaq but when those lights got bright and that pressure got tighter there was no question who the ball was going to and it was wade. gary payton even said he told shaq before that season that wade was the man. Wade was the difference between them coming back from a 0-2 hole to win the finals and miami losing in the first round. watch the 06 finals again and that’ll answer you questions

  15. cbrown386 - Dec 3, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    Remember when the NFL teams started ramping up QB salaries into ridiculous territory and undeserving players were getting huge contracts? Sure worked out well for the Ravens and Flacco, right? This isn’t much different. Go ahead, pay Wade the biggest contract we’ve ever seen.

    • deeballer - Dec 3, 2013 at 6:18 PM

      It’s basketball. Nobody does it alone. Sure the Lakers lost Shaq, but they added Gasol and Odom to their roster. They also had Bynum when he wasn’t injured and Derrick Fisher at his prime as well. Those are pretty darn good pieces around Kobe. Wade had a pretty old and broken down Shaq and won a championship. Kobe is a phenominal player, but he has always had more talent around him than Wade. Until now that is.

      • mikerome64 - Dec 3, 2013 at 7:36 PM

        Always? Have you forgotten he took a team that started Smush Parker, Kwame Brown and Luke Walton to the playoffs and were one rebound away from beating the top seed? KB24 had not always been surrounded by talent.

  16. cruzan80 - Dec 3, 2013 at 8:35 PM

    To answer the question in the heading……no. He isn’t as good as Kobe & isn’t worth as much to the Heat as Kobe is to the Lakers. Him & his BFF are chasing Kobe…..Kobe is chasing MJ.

  17. xli2006 - Dec 4, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    Wait, what’s this? A “manufactured” costly team may not be built for the long term? Shocking.

  18. romo2dez88 - Dec 4, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    If Bosh is a max contract player, the NBA is in worse shape than I previously thought it was. If you think Wade is better than Kobe, please send me some of that stuff you’re smoking. Please and thanks.

  19. coolrelaxx - Dec 4, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Wade not worth the money with out the other two!!!

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