LeBron James Off to Play for European Ball?

Since the Frappe has been keeping you NBA fans up to date regarding the new trend of basketball players going over seas to play professional basketball, it only seems fitting that we bring to your attention this ESPN article that claims that if the price was right, LeBron James might be moving further east than New York come 2010. According to a source close to James, LeBron “would strongly consider playing overseas if he was offered a salary of ‘around $50 million a year.'”

While it is certainly a little premature to be entertaining this idea given that James isn’t a free agent until after the 2009-2010 season, this really isn’t that far-fetched. Since European clubs don’t have a salary cap, $50 million a year is a definite possibility. And in light of Josh Childress’ $30 million deal over three years, why wouldn’t you pay $50 million a year for “The Chosen One?” Relatively, he’s worth at least that much. Oh, and if you doubt that James would really consider a deal as big as $50 million a year from a team in Russia or Greece, remember that they may even sweeten the deal by paying his taxes for him just like they are doing for Childress. Now that’s a sweet paycheck, especially when you compare it to the measly sub-20 million dollar deal he would be forced to sign if he settled with an NBA team, and that’s before taxes.
And in case I have mildly frightened a few of you diehard NBA fans, it only gets worse. While a European club might pay LeBron upwards of $50 million a year, you know he would cash out even bigger via endorsements, especially from his already shoe endorsor, Nike. Let’s be honest: Nike doesn’t care about the U.S. anymore. Nike has made their niche on American soil and while it’s important to keep coming up with new young stars to wear their product, the market has been tapped. The market that Nike really wants is Asia/Europe. So if they can get a player that they endorse to go play over seas for a year or two, they are going to do everything they possibly can to get him to go by throwing more money at him. It’s simply smart investing. I mean, his name already has a French sounding ring to it (“le bon” translates to “The Good One,” or something like that), how hard would it be to come up with a sweet slogan with that kind of material being handed to you? Just imagine a 5th LeBron being added to the family, only he wears a neck-scarf and a beret. Now that will practically sell itself.
The LeBrons could be welcoming a long lost cousin in 2010: Euro LeBron

With all that said, 2010 is still a full two seasons away, so I suppose all we can do till then is wait and see how Jennings and Childress cash out after their European vacations are over. But be prepared, NBA: the Europeans just might be getting the upper hand in all of this, and that spells a disaster just waiting to happen.
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2 thoughts on “LeBron James Off to Play for European Ball?

  1. I still just don’t see this happening . . . for a lot of reasons. LeBron has a lot of endorsements, how many of them are going to stick with him if he’s playing in Europe? Let’s face it, Americans suffer from a bit of provincialism, we like sports that happen on our soil. I don’t know if we’ll drink the same soft drink as the guy drinking it in Greece.Lastly, I wonder to what extremes David Stern would be willing to go in order to keep his stars here. I’m sure he would pull something out of his sleeve.

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  2. The thing is, he’s going to get <> more <> endorsements, plus his current endorsers have plenty of other stars that can carry the tide in the U.S. while he gets exposure over seas. It’s a win-win situation for them.With LeBron’s claim that he wants to be a billionaire and an international superstar, it seems like playing a season or two over seas will probably be quite alluring.I think the biggest argument against this hypothetical situation would be along the lines of the MVP’s and Championships LeBron could miss out on. But I think LeBron is too Post-Modern to care about that stuff.

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