Really, who isn’t jealous of Miguel Cabrera’s new contract? His existing deal plus the eight-year extension will pay him close to $300 million in total. Last week, when asked about it by Brian Windhorst, LeBron James said he was jealous of that money, before saying he wishes the NBA “didn’t have a salary cap.”
“He’s the best player in baseball, and the best players in each sport should be rewarded,” James said. “It’d be nice to sign a 10-year deal worth $300 million.”
Of course nobody should feel sorry for LeBron James who earns lots and lots of money in his own right between the NBA and endorsements. Still, consider LeBron’s talent level and his stature in his game as one of about 450 or so players in his league.1 Meanwhile Miguel Cabrera is easily one of the best players in his game, but he’s also one of about 1,300 players in his league.2 So, it does seem a little bit strange that Cabrera could be worth double in overall contract value than Kobe Bryant who once signed a deal for seven years and just over $136 million.
I’ve suggested that one of the ways that the NBA can deal with player movement would be to have a franchise tag for one player on each roster. This franchised player wouldn’t be subject to the salary cap at all. So your team could have a roster of players that need to cost under $70 million for example, but then if you have a Kobe, or LeBron, you can pay them true market value. I haven’t worked out all the particulars, but each team can only have one of these guys making that tag scarce and inflating the value of playing in smaller markets for at least that one player who could be designated. It also might do wonders to break up super teams.
Anyway, it makes me wonder what LeBron James’ true market value might be to his sport considering Miguel Cabrera’s worth $300 million in his sport. Everyone said that the Miami Heat “sacrificed” to put their team together down in Miami. Imagine if they really had to sacrifice though. Imagine if LeBron was making $45 million per year as the “franchise” player and Wade and Bosh had to fight for the right to make $20 million each under the cap while also having teammates.
More importantly, would $45 million even be enough for LeBron’s true market value?
(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
- 30 teams times 15 players per team, give or take turnover and the developmental league. [↩]
- 32 teams times 40 players is 1280. [↩]