James' move to Cleveland more about money than basketball


ESPN and TNT fended off other TV competitors to retain rights to broadcast NBA games for the next nine years. This deal was a reported 2.66 billion dollars a year by New York Times. The deal is worth nearly 3 times as much as the old deal. So where does this extra money being generated go to?


That’s a question LeBron James and the players association want answered fast. When the NBA went into the lockout in 2011, the owners and players signed a new CBA for five years, so this is set to expire in two more years. Which means there will be plenty of more negotiating between the two sides on where this extra revenue will be going.


The reason James signed only a two year deal with Cleveland had nothing to do with basketball but everything to do with money. James absolutely knew there would be a new TV deal producing much more money. If everything goes accordingly, James and other top free agents will be able to sign longer deals for more money.


This much revenue could open the door to baseball like contracts for the NBA. For example, Albert Pujols signed a 10 year, 240 million dollar deal with the Los Angeles Angels in 2012. However under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, players can only sign a max of five years with their current team, or four years should they choose to sign with another team.  


James realizes how instrumental this can be in terms of players’ ability to capitalize when negotiating contracts. He also understands if the owners and National Basketball Players Association don’t start discussing a potential deal, the NBA could see another long lockout in 2016.

The reason the lockout lasted 161 days in 2011 was the owners claiming they were losing money. Now with the way NBA franchises have been selling and of course the money produced by this TV deal, no way that argument still stands. Hopefully the fans and certainly the players don’t have to go through another lockout.