August 5, 2008

King of the World

by Dan Bilicki In: Basketball, Football

I was all set to write about the ongoing, seemingly never-ending, Brett Favre vs. Green Bay saga until I saw that LeBron James would actually consider pulling a Josh Childress and playing in Europe. And that would mean turning down a chance to play for Jay-Z’s Brooklyn Nets in 2010. Apparently all it would cost the lucky Euro league team at least $50-million per season.

Outlandish? Yes. Impossible? No.

Let’s just remember a few things about the European leagues. Firstly, these teams don’t have salary caps like there is in the NBA. What they pay their players is based on what the team makes and is willing to spend. As long as they can cover their debts, they’re good to go. These teams also obviously don’t have any quarrels about spending their cash on american players either. Look at the deal Childress got ($30M over three years roughly), or the $3.15M, one year deal that Earl Boykins has reportedly signed with an Italian team and there’s the fact that Olympiakos actually offered Kelenna Azubuike a blank cheque to play for them — that he foolishly turned down to play for Golden State last season. All of these examples are reasons why a team could potentially make that massive offer to LeBron in 2010.

Secondly, it’s not like this deal would be completely unheard of. Remember that big fuss in the spring of 2007 about that silly soccer player from England who chose to come to Los Angeles? Well he might be the pioneer of the massive, superduper star intercontental deal. David Beckham going to the Galaxy for a whopping $250-million over five seasons could be surpassed by a potential LBJ offering, but I think they would be around the same. The only difference would be the King James would never leave the NBA for five years. He’d be gone for two seasons tops, spread his image and merchandise the crap out of Europe — and the entire Eurasian continent — then come back and play for Jay-Z’s completely redesigned Brooklyn Nets.

Finally, let’s all remember the key word that anyone and everyone who reads this story will overlook: Consider. If you offer anyone enough money, they’ll consider doing it no matter what it is. Realistically, if offered $50-million per season in Europe, any player in the NBA would absolutely, positively at least think about taking it. And that alone would define it as “considered.” Really, it only takes that little hesitation. But realistically, it’ll be as impossible for LeBron to take that offer as it is for Brett Favre to retire. The only way that King James will play for a Euro club is if he pulls something like Beckham did. Play past your prime and cash in.

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