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Report: Max salaries to be set at higher percentage of salary cap under new CBA

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Chris Paul serves at the National Basketball Players Association’s president, and the union’s vice presidents include LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Stephen Curry.

Think the new Collective Bargaining Agreement benefits those max players? You bet it does.

The current CBA sets max salaries as a percentage of the salary cap based on years of experience, and the tiers were commonly described as:

  • 0-6 years experience: 25% of the cap
  • 7-9 years experience: 30% of the cap
  • 10+ years experience: 35% of the cap

But that wasn’t quite accurate.

Max salaries were based on a percentage of an altered cap calculation, one used two CBAs ago and kept just for max salaries. That altered calculation produced a lower cap number, so max salaries were a lower percentage of the actual cap than advertised.

The system was needlessly complicated. Thankfully, the new CBA will render it obsolete.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

How big a deal is this? The old max-salary calculation often trimmed more than $1 million from what a straightforward calculation would’ve produced.

Here’s a history of the max salary under the current CBA. The simple max shows the straight 25/30/35 percentages of the actual salary cap. The true max shows the actual max salary, as determined by the more complex calculation. For 2017-18, I used the projected $103 million cap and estimated what the “true max” would’ve been had the current system remained.

Year Experience Simple max True max Difference
0-6 years $14,511,000 $12,922,194 $1,588,806
7-9 years $17,413,200 $15,506,632 $1,906,568
10+ years $20,315,400 $18,091,071 $2,224,329
0-6 years $14,511,000 $13,668,750 $842,250
7-9 years $17,413,200 $16,402,500 $1,010,700
10+ years $20,315,400 $19,136,250 $1,179,150
0-6 years $14,669,750 $13,701,250 $968,500
7-9 years $17,603,700 $16,441,500 $1,162,200
10+ years $20,537,650 $19,181,750 $1,355,900
0-6 years $15,766,250 $14,746,000 $1,020,250
7-9 years $18,919,500 $17,695,200 $1,224,300
10+ years $22,072,750 $20,644,400 $1,428,350
0-6 years $17,500,000 $16,407,500 $1,092,500
7-9 years $21,000,000 $19,689,000 $1,311,000
10+ years $24,500,000 $22,970,500 $1,529,500
0-6 years $23,535,750 $22,116,750 $1,419,000
7-9 years $28,242,900 $26,540,100 $1,702,800
10+ years $32,950,050 $30,963,450 $1,986,600
0-6 years $25,750,000 $24,235,294 $1,514,706
7-9 years $30,900,000 $29,082,353 $1,817,647
10+ years $36,050,000 $33,828,431 $2,221,569

Considering annual raises in a multi-year contract are based on the first-year salary, these differences add up.

For example – coupled with the new over-38 rule making a five-year, rather than a four-year, deal tenable – if he re-signs with the Clippers, Chris Paul can earn about $57 million more on his next contract under new CBA than if the current system continued. It’s good to be president.

But before any cries of self-dealing, consider that superstars are probably still underpaid given what they provide their teams. Any max salary still limits earnings at the top and leaves more money for lesser players. The max salary increasing slightly is a step toward fairness.

The league’s middle class of players might lose slightly here. But a big hit goes to the lawyers and accountants who were paid to handle two salary-cap calculations, one for the actual cap and one for the max. I think we can appreciate the step toward simplicity with only one calculation necessary going forward.

LeBron James game-time decision for Cavaliers-Celtics opener

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — LeBron James may miss Cleveland’s opener Tuesday night against Boston because of a sprained left ankle.

James injured his ankle in practice on Sept. 27 and played in just one exhibition game. He participated in the team’s morning shootaround, and a team spokesman said it will be a game-time decision whether he faces the Celtics. James is officially listed as questionable.

James took some outside shots but did very little lateral movement when the media was permitted to watch the Cavs work out.

It’s hard to imagine James missing the first opener of his career and a chance to play against former teammate Kyrie Irving, who was traded this summer to Boston after telling Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert that he wanted out. James and Irving had a sometimes rocky relationship during three seasons together, but they made it to three straight NBA Finals and won the title in 2016.


Why did Kyrie Irving request trade from Cavaliers? ‘I will never pinpoint anything, because that’s not what real grownups do’

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Kyrie Irving said he requested a trade from the Cavaliers because he wanted to be happy and maximize his potential.

But why did he feel that couldn’t happen in Cleveland?

Irving hasn’t come close to directly answering that question, saying things like, “My intent, like I said, was for my best intentions.” Returning to Cleveland with the Celtics, Irving was again pressed to explain.

Irving, via MassLive:

Going forward, I kind of wanted to put that to rest in terms of everyone figuring out or trying to figure out and dive in and continue to dive into a narrative that they have no idea about and that probably will never, ever be divulged, because it’s not important. This was literally just a decision I wanted to make solely based on my happiness and pushing my career forward. I don’t want to pinpoint anything. I will never pinpoint anything, because that’s not what real grownups do. They continue to move on with their life and and continue to progress, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.

Perhaps, Irving is just following Dwyane Wade‘s advice and taking the high road. But that won’t ease our collective curiosity. Fans will continue to speculate about why Irving wanted out, and reporters will continue to dig into it. Reporting and speculation have both centered on LeBron James.

If Irving eventually wants to set the record straight – and he doesn’t sound interested, lending credence to the theory he wanted to leave LeBron behind – everyone will be all ears.

Cavaliers to honor Kyrie Irving with video during tonight’s game

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Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cavaliers, stated no regard for LeBron James‘ feelings about it and slighted Cleveland as a sports city.

Yet, when Irving returns with the Celtics for tonight’s regular-season opener, the Cavs will honor him.

Joe Vardon of

The Cavaliers intend to honor Kyrie Irving on Tuesday night with a video tribute during Cleveland’s season-opening tilt against Irving’s Boston Celtics.

According to a team source, the video is a “thank you” to Irving intended to show appreciation for all he accomplished in six seasons here.

Irving had a fantastic six-year run with the Cavaliers, and he hit the biggest shot in franchise history to end Cleveland’s title drought in 2016.

But he’s now a sports villain there (not to be mistaken for a bad person). Let the fans enjoy unconditionally booing him for a night. There will be time to honor him when the wounds of his exit aren’t so fresh.

If I were the Cavs, this would be the video I’d show to commemorate Irving’s return:

LeBron James: I think Dan Gilbert’s letter was racial

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LeBron James left a job for a more appealing one in 2010. His previous employer, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, infamously published a letter that called LeBron’s decision a “cowardly betrayal,” “shameful display of selfishness and betrayal,” “shocking act of disloyalty” and “heartless and callous action.” Most ridiculously, Gilbert wrote, “Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.” Perhaps most hurtfully, Gilbert added LeBron’s choice “sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And ‘who’ we would want them to grow-up to become.”

Remember, LeBron completed his contract with Gilbert’s Cavs then signed with the Heat. Gilbert’s reaction was beyond over the top.

It was also probably rooted in racial attitudes that persist since a time rich white men held complete control over the lives of young black men.

LeBron, via Mark Anthony Green of GQ:

Did you feel like Dan Gilbert’s letter was racial?

“Um, I did. I did. It was another conversation I had to have with my kids. It was unfortunate, because I believed in my heart that I had gave that city and that owner, at that point in time, everything that I had. Unfortunately, I felt like, at that point in time, as an organization, we could not bring in enough talent to help us get to what my vision was. A lot of people say they want to win, but they really don’t know how hard it takes, or a lot of people don’t have the vision. So, you know, I don’t really like to go back on that letter, but it pops in my head a few times here, a few times there. I mean, it’s just human nature. I think that had a lot to do with race at that time, too, and that was another opportunity for me to kind of just sit back and say, ‘Okay, well, how can we get better? How can we get better? How can I get better?’ And if it happens again, then you’re able to have an even more positive outlook on it. It wasn’t the notion of I wanted to do it my way. It was the notion of I’m gonna play this game, and I’m gonna prepare myself so damn hard that when I decide to do something off the court, I want to be able to do it because I’ve paid my dues.”

We’ve obviously come a long way since slavery, but the racism used to justify that evil practice lingers. In 2017, few want to be racist. Many more do racist things. Racism is basked into our society, and it will require thoughtful recognition of it to eradicate it.

Gilbert’s letter contained racial undertones, Gilbert attempting to assert a control of LeBron he didn’t rightfully possess. If Gilbert considered how his letter fit into historical context, maybe he wouldn’t have written it. Whether or not Gilbert intended to be racist matters only so much. He danced in racist tones to vilify LeBron.

Now, maybe Gilbert has progressed. He apologized to LeBron for the letter (while trying to woo LeBron back to Cleveland in 2014) and said he’s learning more about the level of racism in this country.

But there’s still an apparent lingering distrust by LeBron toward Gilbert, and LeBron saying he still sometimes thinks about the letter only enhances that. That could matter as LeBron heads toward free agency.