When LeBron James left the Heat to return to the Cavaliers this summer, he only signed a deal that is for a maximum of two seasons — and the second year is a player option.
It wasn’t because James has any intention of playing the free agent market on an annual basis (thank god). It was because he’s looking to make as much money as possible.
James was well aware of the impending new broadcast rights deal, which became official on Monday and featured numbers more astronomical than had previously been projected. The salary cap will skyrocket, and James knows that max contracts will, as well. He wants as big a piece of that pie as the market will allow, and being the game’s best player and one who immediately makes any team a championship contender, he deserves it.
But all players don’t feel the same way.
Carmelo Anthony could have signed a similar two-year deal when he re-upped with the Knicks. He, however, was content with taking five years worth of guaranteed money near the current league maximum.
“I never thought about it,” Anthony, speaking after Knicks practice, said about taking a shorter contract. “I never thought about a two-year deal. I didn’t want to have to go back and do what I did this summer, not at all.”
Anthony re-signed with the New York Knicks during the summer to a five-year, $124 million deal. The new television contract takes effect starting with the 2016-17 season. …
“I signed my deal. I’m good. The organization is good,” Anthony said. “We moved forward and everybody is in a good place. So I don’t think there’s even no need to discuss it.”
Anthony is in a slightly different phase of his career than is James. At 30 years of age and after having played 11 NBA seasons, he may be headed for a decreased level of production over the next couple of seasons, and may not have been able to maximize his earnings more than he could with a five-year deal right now.
Anthony has already amassed over $135 million in career earnings, and his new contract will come close to doubling that. It’s more than likely that he won’t have any regrets.