Dwyane Wade: With No Salary Cap, NBA Stars Could Earn $50 Million a Year

by September 30, 2011

DWade tells Yahoo! Sports that the League’s biggest superstars could earn up to $50 mil per season if there was no salary cap, but believe it or not, he might be short-changing them (and himself): “Nowhere in sports is the superstar more vital than basketball, because the ball’s forever in the star’s hands and a singular talent has the most transformational impact. Let owners bid on the true value the elite stars bring to a franchise, to the league, and Wade was asked where he believes the bidding would rise per season? ‘I’m sure it would get to $50 million,’ Wade [said]. He’s right, and there’s still a compelling case that it wouldn’t properly compensate what a Kobe Bryant, a LeBron James, even means far beyond his own team. Privately, Jerry Buss has told people that Bryant – who will make a league-high $25 million this season under his current contract terms – is worth perhaps $70 million a year to the Los Angeles Lakers. James has been the most prodigious talent – the compelling serial character – the sport’s manufactured. This list is short, but the impact is immense. This is the largely unspoken truism of labor talks: The superstars are wildly underpaid, and the largely interchangeable rank-and-file players make far too much money. ‘In terms of driving revenue, if the NBA had no cap, the compensation would be totally different,’ Wade said. ‘Like baseball, where they have no cap, you see the players that they feel fill arenas, that people come out to see, A-Rod, those kind of guys, look at how much money they make on their deals. You’ve got guys – starting with Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe and LeBron – all players that individually people wanted to come to see. And wanted to just have a glimpse, just one glimpse, to be able to say that I’ve seen that person play. For what they’ve done for the game, what they’ve done for organizations, I don’t think you can really put a dollar amount on it.'”