James, Paul could cash in with “over-38” rule

The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

LeBron James has been ahead of the curve on con­tract man­age­ment for most of his NBA ca­reer, and a pro­vi­sion he helped po­si­tion him­self for in the league’s new col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment means his lat­est ma­neu­ver could be worth al­most $100 mil­lion.

The new CBA, which still must be rat­i­fied by the own­ers and the play­ers union, al­ters the “over-36” rule to the “over-38” rule. Pre­vi­ously, teams could not sign play­ers to a four- or five-year con­tract if the player turned 36 be­fore Oct. 1 in one of the years of the deal. By mov­ing the rule back two years, James is in po­si­tion to sign a five-year con­tract in 2018 when he is 33 years old.

James’ health and over­all player mar­ket make it im­pos­si­ble to know what he might sign for in 2018, but pro­jec­tions show he could sign for up to $210 mil­lion if he stays with the Cava­liers.

The rule change also could ben­e­fit Chris Paul, who would be el­i­gi­ble next sum­mer to sign a five-year con­tract with the Clip­pers for up to $210 mil­lion. Paul could have signed for four years un­der the cur­rent rules. It could be worth up to $50 mil­lion more to him, depend­ing on how the deal is con­structed.

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