Report: LeBron James will demand max money on his next contract
Believe it or not, LeBron James has never in his career been the highest-paid player on his team. But that's going to be a condition of any potential NBA suitor that wants James on its team once free agency strikes on July 1.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN reports that LeBron James will insist on a max contract. "Teams that contact James will be informed that he wants no less than the maximum salary number for next season," Windhorst writes. "The max number for James is projected to be about $20.7 million [per season]."
Windhorst also reports the James will not personally meet with any teams in the initial round of talks, and will let his agent Rich Paul handle all the meetings. Back in 2010, James met personally with six different NBA teams during the first three days of his free agency.
There is a theory gaining momentum that this all means that James will certainly re-sign with the Heat. With the so-called Big Three all opting out of their current Miami contracts, each can restructure his contract to comply with LeBron's demands. James, Wade and Bosh have met this offseason to discuss their options.
"I would assume that if LeBron is going to stay with the Heat, he wants to send that message loud and clear," Windhorst told ESPN's Mike & Mike earlier today. The rationale is that this would help the Heat recruit other free agents at less-than-market-value contracts.
"LeBron's the most powerful guy in the league. LeBron's more powerful than Adam Silver, honestly," Windhorst says. "[LeBron] would hold up the rest of the league, and he could sit there and wait. And if he sat there and wait[ed], the longer and longer it got, things would get crazy."
That said, LeBron is unlikely to sit there and wait. "LeBron actually has a trip to China planned, I think for July 20 he's doing promotion over there," Windhorst notes. "So I can guarantee you it will be long wrapped up by then."