2014 Free Agency / Jun 28, 2014 / 4:45 pm

Report: LeBron Wants Max Contract, Teammates Willing To Take Less

Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade

Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade (Brian Spurlock, USATODAY Sports)

Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Udonis Haslem have followed the lead of LeBron James by opting out of their contracts for next season with the Miami Heat. Now comes the next step for Pat Riley and company: Negotiating new, presumably discounted salaries for Miami’s quartet of free agents. And though James had previously indicated he’d be willing to take a pay-cut to improve the Heat’s roster, the latest report is that he’s seeking the maximum contract allowable from the Heat.

The news is courtesy of Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski. Of greatest note is that Wade and Bosh are planning to sign deals worth less than they could get on the open market so that LeBron will be able to receive his full worth in salary.

In an effort to make a future work together with LeBron James, the Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem will opt out of their contracts and become free agents, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

While Bosh, Wade and Haslem could ultimately take less money with the early termination outs in their deals, James, the NBA’s four-time MVP, is seeking a full maximum contract extension – or something close to it – to stay with Miami, sources told Yahoo Sports…

James’ teammates want to work with Miami president Pat Riley on re-signing with the team at lower financial figures that would allow management to retool with the roster with upgraded talent. Because of James’ value as the best player in the NBA, the Heat players understand James’ desire to seek maximum contract value, sources said.

It comes as mildly surprising that James is intent on a maximum five-year, $130 contract while Wade and Bosh are open to taking less than their value. LeBron is the best player in the world, of course, and everything in Miami revolves around his once-in-a-generation talents. Still, one assumed that individual stances by the Big Three on salaries would be aligned if they ultimately decided to stick together.

Instead, it appears James will exercise his power as the Heat’s axiom of on- and off- court success to ensure he’s paid his due. And while he’s obviously entitled to that position, he’s fortunate that Wade and Bosh are so understanding of it. The latter could likely receive a similar deal to LeBron’s as a free agent, while Wade could surely prod Miami into more money than his level of play merits by invoking his status as an organizational icon. But they’re clearly putting the best interests of the team before their own, and are to be commended for such unselfish action.

Wojnarowski’s report includes the caveat that James could actually test the free agency waters if he doesn’t like the direction the Heat’s roster is trending.

James’ priority remains to find a way to make a future work with Miami, but a failure by the organization toward improving the Heat’s roster to his satisfaction could send him aggressively into free agency, sources said.

We’ve known that for awhile. The decisions by Wade, Bosh, and even Haslem to opt-out and re-negotiate their contracts should provide Riley ample opportunity to placate James. In fact, he already took a step towards doing so by acquiring Shabazz Napier on draft-night.

Free agency officially opens on Tuesday, July 1st. While it seems that things are going swimmingly for the Heat so far, their situation could certainly change once pitches and negotiations officially begin.

Would you take a discount if you were LeBron?

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  • 2cents

    LBJ “Do as I say, not as I do”. But I agree being the best player in the world currently should mean he gets paid. More so than Kobe and his ridiculous extension. But on the flip side, if his max contract and team’s sacrifice doesn’t land them another championship, then he can’t look to anyone else as the scape goat.

  • cd3382

    I can’t say that I blame him either. The man does everything for that team and he deserves it too, especially the way Bosh and Wade played through out the finals.

  • Laru Zambo

    Lebron is a shrewd business man. In sports they need more Lebrons, He understands commerce.

  • Al

    Glad Tom Brady doesn’t operate under the Lebron principle… glad Tim Duncan didn’t either…

  • SweetdickWilly

    Agreed. He must be ready to lead the team. He’s putting himself in a Kevin Garnett in Minnesota scenario: He’ll make all the money but will have to live with nobody else willing to be underpaid to come aboard to play with him.

  • Sterling

    Not really, his earnings potential from endorsements is WAY higher than his earnings potential from any contract the heat could offer. If he was a shrewd businessman he would see that he should take less money so that they could have a better supporting cast, helping them win more championships. If he could cement his place with the legends in terms of championships, he would be in a place to be paid like Michael Jordan (who is a billionaire now).

  • realist

    Yea that’s easy to say because we’re not in his position! #DUH if your job came to you and ask you to take less money so that they could hire other guys to help you do your job would you? HELL NO!

  • Karnov

    Wade is probably going to be overpaid. He’s a $8-10 million player at this stage in his career. He looked like the Stay Puff Marshmellow man in the Finals. Moved like it too.

  • Laru Zambo

    Any contract in the United States is based in commerce. Even your birth certificate & driver license. The United States only exist though contracts, it is not a land, its a jurisdiction on the land(America). So the fact that he has contracts with people outside of sports(endorsements) solidifies my point. The bottom line is he doesn’t have to take a pay cut to play for a team on the decline. He has more options than any athlete in team sport history.

  • Laru Zambo

    exactly. that wouldnt be shrewd at all nor good business.

  • realist

    100% agree!

  • common sense

    d wade on his knees, saying pretttty preeety please