A PROVISION that LeBron James helped include in the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement could position him as the highest paid player in league history.
Once the new deal is ratified by team owners and the players' union one of the changes is the adjustment of the "over-36 rule" to the "over-38" rule. The old agreement stated teams could not sign players to four- or five-year contracts if the player turned 36 before Oct. 1 of one of the years of the deal.
The two-year change places James in position to sign a five-year contract in 2018 when he turns 33 years old.
Although there are several factors to consider that would include James’ physical condition, player availability and other developments in the coming two years but sources told ESPN that James could sign for up to $210 million if he stays with the Cleveland Cavaliers and signs for the maximum five years.
Under the old rules, a 33-year old James would be limited to a max contract of three years and an estimated $90 million to $100 million.
James said that veteran players have the most to gain with the new CBA on Friday (Saturday, Manila time).
"I'm too much of a present guy to worry about what can happen in the future. If I'm blessed and able and the game continues to bless me, then we'll cross that path when we get there," he said. "But there's guys in our league now that are 34, 35, 36 that have an opportunity to sign a longer-deal contract, so I think it's great for our league."
Another star who stands to greatly benefit from the new deal is Chris Paul, who would be eligible to sign a five-year contract with the LA Clippers for up to $210 million in the summer of 2017.
Incidentally, Paul is the president of the players' union, and James is the vice president.
James signed a three-year, $100 million deal last August. He can opt out after two years, giving him the option to become a free agent at 33 years old. James is currently the highest-paid player in the NBA this season at $30.9 million.