I was intrigued by the whole LeBron free agency process, even though I'm not usually a basketball fan. When he announced that he was going to Miami, I was not surprised, although I initially thought he would go back to Cleveland. Then I got thinking. The NBA has a salary cap, so LBJ had to choose between teams based on other characteristics, because the money was the same no matter where he went, because he was obviously going to get a max deal. What if the free agent market was unrestricted? How much do you think he could have gotten? Would his decision have changed?
I think that Cleveland would have offered much more than any other team in this scenario, because he was everything that team and city had. Gilbert, in losing James, has lost about $100 million in value from the team. New York, Chicago, Miami, and the other teams are all much more valuable, and did not stand to lose so much from missing out. As for actual numbers, I think Lebron's contract could have been over $200 million for about six or seven years. That's well over $30 million a year, and probably one of the biggest in all of sports, at least in America, ever.