LeBron James is one slippery fellow. Watch out Cleveland, he's like the guy who knows all the smooth lines, works his game, woos you into dropping your pants and then is nowhere to be seen in the morning. When word got out that he'd accepted the five year, $80M extension offered to him by the Cavs, it let the city of Cleveland finally get excited for its future. Long known as the City of Broken Dreams (we might be making that up), citizens finally had something to do other than visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and contemplate suicide. They could hope. Well, things aren't as rosy as they seem.
Turns out LeBron's extension is only for four years at $60M, and has an opt-out clause after three. What's interesting is that by taking less money now, he's setting himself up for a potentially huge payday at the end of the three years, where he could go to..say..a Dolan/Isiah-less Knicks and have those fat endorsement deals kick in that major market. At that point, as a seven-year veteran, he'll be entitled to make 30% of the cap, not the current 25%. Of course, after those three years James can use the excuse that the Cavs didn't do enough to win a title, something he desperately wants to do. But the financial timing seems odd. Congratulations, LeBron. Scheming, deceptive business moves, wonderful PR spin for your adoring public, looking to add infinitely more money on top of your already significant pile of cash...forget a title. All you need to further establish your legacy as an NBA superstar is a few tattoos and an illegitimate child or two. You're well on your way!
UPDATE: Forever riding LeBron's coattails, it appears Carmelo is now rethinking his decision to sign the five year pact he agreed to in principle last week. This is why Stephen A. Smith, who broke the original news of LeBron's real contract, should keep his mouth shut. Things like these aren't good for public perception. If all four rookies (including Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade) back out of their original agreements, it'll look awfully bootleg.
Previously: Cleveland Rocks! Cleveland Rocks!