I am a huge fan of the NBA. While I usually root for the Pistons or the Bucks, I am secretly a fan of the Miami Heat. Okay, I am a LeBron James fan more than a Heat fan similar to when I was going up I was more of a Michael Jordan fan than a Bulls fan. Anyway, with the free agency craziness that is about to start, here is my argument why Dwayne Wade should willing take a significant pay cut:
Blame. If LeBron James leaves the Miami Heat, people will blame Dwayne Wade because it’s his city and his team. Dwayne Wade was drafted there, he won an NBA title there first, and he recruited LeBron James and Chris Bosh to come play with him. Probably even more so than Pat Riley, Dwayne Wade built this team that went to four straight NBA finals. If the team falls apart now, far shy of the grand expectations people have for it, people will ask why. One of the obvious questions becomes: is Dwayne Wade still worth $20 million a season? How about $15 million? If he is not or it is questionable, then people will say LeBron James left knowing that, with the salary cap, he could not win on a team that had to devote that much money to Dwayne Wade. Dwayne Wade was either hurt this past season or his basketball skills are declining or both. Chris Bosh basically played as expected. He is always viewed as the third option, so he will avoid blame in the same manner people fail to give him credit. Don’t get me wrong; I believe some team out there is probably willing to sign Dwayne Wade to a max contract or close to a max contract. That does not make it a good idea. Because of the salary cap, every contract LeBron James ever played for was a steal of a deal. I could not fault LeBron James if he wanted the players around him to play for less than they could make elsewhere.
Credit. Just as much as Dwayne Wade will get too much blame if LeBron James leaves the Heat, Dwayne Wade will receive too much credit if LeBron James stays with the Heat and they find a way to win.
Other Financial Opportunities. NBA players have other opportunities to make money – shoe deals, other endorsements, etc. – and those opportunities will be greater with LeBron James than without him. With someone as high profiled as Dwayne Wade, these opportunities may even mean that Dwayne Wade could make more money with a pay cut that entices LeBron James to stay than Dwayne Wade would make if he got a max contract and LeBron James left. Even if endorsements don’t completely offset the pay cut, they would definitely lessen the financial burden of taking a pay cut to keep LeBron James.
Intangible Benefits of Winning. At a certain point, more titles have to be more valuable than more money. Dwayne Wade has already earned over $120 million. Think of it this way, what would you rather have: $180 million and three titles or $150 million and six titles? Six titles puts Dwayne Wade in Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen territory. Yes, they have a lot of work to do to get that far. However, Dwayne Wade has a chance at such greatness with LeBron James and no chance without him. I hope Dwayne Wade goes for greatness rather than money. If Dwayne Wade asks for too much money, I hope LeBron James chases greatness elsewhere.
That’s My Argument.
© July 2014 Brandon J. Evans