LeBron James made $33,285,709 playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2017-18 season per Spotrac. James signed a 3 year, $99.85 million contract with the Cavs in 2016. James is set to make $35,607,969 next season, but has a player option he can exercise after this summer that would allow him to become a free agent on July 1st.
James recent approach to contracts has impacted the way other NBA players have viewed free agency. James has opted to sign shorter deals, which allows him to reassess his options every couple years rather than locking himself into a situation long-term. NBA players had typically looked for the longest deals, which would guarantee a set amount of money. James has opted to bet on himself with no fear that he will be able to sign the next contract when his current deal expires.
Prior to signing a three-year contract (with a player option in the second year), James was on a two-year deal with the Heat. James is likely to do the same this summer when he becomes a free agent once again. What is the motivation to sign smaller deals? It gives James ultimate control over his future, while pressuring teams to build “win now” rosters around him. Sometimes, this ends up back firing as we have seen with the current Cleveland roster. The Cavs signed role players to big contracts to please James, and many of the players have not lived up to their deals.
According to Business Insider, Steph Curry is the only NBA player with a higher salary than James. Curry made $34.7 million this season with the Warriors. ESPN’s Darren Rovell posted a graphic breaking down just how much money Curry takes home after taxes and other fees.
Rovell estimates Curry takes home just over $15 million of his $34 million salary. While the numbers would be a little different for James, namely the state taxes, fans can expect a similar outcome for James’ salary as well. Players have to pay state taxes on their income to any state where they played a road game making filing their taxes a little more complicated than your typical Turbo Tax session.
James makes a lot of money playing basketball, but makes a lot more more money off his various endorsements and business ventures.
LeBron Has an Estimated Net Worth of $400 Million
According to Celebrity Net Worth, James has an estimated net worth of $400 million. According to Forbes, James made $86 million in 2017, meaning more than $50 million of his earnings came away from basketball. His endorsement deals include Nike, Intel, Verizon, Coca-Cola, Beats by Dre and Kia. James owns the production company SpringHill Entertainment with his manager Maverick Carter. According to Forbes, James is also part of an investment group that owns 17 Blaze Pizza franchises.
ESPN reported James’ 2 percent stake in the Premier League soccer club Liverpool was initially worth $6.5 million, and is now worth an estimated $32 million.
James has a lifetime deal with Nike, and the terms of the contract have never been disclosed. However, James’ manager suggested it was more than a billion dollars in an interview with GQ.
“Yeah. It’s a fantastic deal,” Carter told GQ. “Nike feels great about the deal. That’s the most important thing. As great as I feel, as great as LeBron feels—Nike feels fantastic about it. It’s the largest deal in the history of the company. Their hope is he makes even more. And our hope is that, too, obviously.”
At the start of his career, James admitted he had his eyes on billionaire status.
“In the next 15 or 20 years, I hope I’ll be the richest man in the world,” James told the Associated Press. “That’s one of my goals. I want to be a billionaire. I want to get to a position where generation on generation don’t have to worry about nothing. I don’t want family members from my kids to my son’s kids to never have to worry. And I can’t do that now just playing basketball.”