LeBron James absolutely deserves the max contract he is reportedly asking for, while Dwyane Wade should not be paid like a superstar. This, according to common sense but also according to a statistical study put together by numberfire.com.
According to the report, which breaks down how Heat players should be paid by looking at each player's win share -- that is, a player's value to the team according to games won -- not only does LeBron deserve a max deal but even if he gets one, he'll still be underpaid what he truly deserves.
In other words, he's the greatest player in the universe and deserves all the money in the universe.
See also: Are the Heat Better Without Dwyane Wade?
On Tuesday, ESPN reported that LeBron is seeking a max contract, which is projected to be around $20.7 million. Of course, if the Heat was to give him this, it would seriously hamper its efforts to bring in free agents to help the team.
Numberfire's Bryan Mears took the win shares metric and his own metric called nERD, looked at team performance percentages, multiplied it by the team's total salary, and figured out what each Heat player deserves to be paid according to their individual performances in 2014.
And, according to Mears, LeBron deserves even more than the projected amount of $20.7 million.
People are taking shots at LeBron for saying he wants the max, despite never making the highest salary on any of his teams even when he was clearly the best player on the team. That's just ridiculous -- the best player in the world has never been the highest paid on his own team.
And he should demand the max. He's certainly worth it, and is still in the prime of his career. Not to mention he pretty much carried this last version of the Heat to the NBA Finals. As I wrote previously, the production he got from his supporting cast was the worse he's ever had. Yes, even worse than that 2007 Cleveland Cavaliers squad.
The most significant thing Mears found was that only LeBron and Chris Andersen outplayed their contracts, with Ray Allen and (yup!) Mario Chalmers turning in good overall seasons.
LeBron outplayed his contract by $4,562,443.
That's the bargain of bargains when you're talking about the best player in the league in his prime.
Then there's D-Wade, who way underperformed to his value. Wade made $18,536,000 but, according to the win shares metric, played only like an $8,173,880 player -- a difference of $10,362,120.
As has been widely reported, Wade has opted out of his contract to take a pay cut to make room for Riley to maneuver.
Interestingly, Chris Bosh also opted out. Bosh too played below his value -- $7,178,220 more than he deserved under the metrics.
Bosh and Wade are looking to take pay cuts, according to one report.
But another report says not so much.
Either way, the numbers are telling. LeBron deserves the max deal he is reportedly seeking, while Wade is obviously not the star player he once was, nor should he be paid like one.
Yet the Heat needs to add pieces to help the Big Three make more runs at championships.
The Heat is in kind of a pickle. It'll be interesting to see what it can pull off and remain competitive.
It starts with giving LeBron what he wants... and then figuring it out from there.
You can read the full numberfire report here.
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