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