In 2010, LeBron James was lining up meetings with teams and was open to taking less money in order to win a championship. Now, it’s almost an entirely opposite scenario.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, LeBron James is going to demand max salary from teams that wish to sign him and won’t be taking meetings with any teams. Instead, his agent, Rich Paul, will handle the early stages of free agency for James.
Teams who contact James will be informed that he wants no less than the maximum salary number for next season, sources said. The max number is projected to be $22.2 million. In 2010, James accepted a pay cut when he signed with the Miami Heat, taking less than the maximum salary to help make space for other free agents.
Also, as of now, James is not scheduling any pitch meetings with teams — he will let agent Rich Paul handle the opening stages of talks. In 2010, he scheduled six meetings with teams at his offices in Cleveland over the first three days of July.
James’ demands for the length of his next deal is in flux. After the Finals, James said flexibility was important to him, hinting that he may not be looking for a full four or five-year contract.
This information could shake up the contenders for James and also sends the message that James, who has never been the single highest-paid player on his team in his 11-year career, is not as willing to personally sacrifice money to improve the roster as he was in the past. That burden may now fall to teammates such as Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
If the report remains true, and if the Miami Heat’s Big Three remain intact, it’ll be up to Wade and Bosh to take significant pay cuts in order for the Heat to court the likes of Kyle Lowry and Marcin Gortat during free agency.
Free agency begins at midnight.