Tuesday , Jul , 22 , 2008 Oly Sandor

LeBron James’ next contract, Denver’s options with Iverson, and Nash’s place in my point guard rankings

However, James’ sponsors, like Nike and Sprite, don’t follow a CBA or salary cap. And these fortune five hundred companies would likely make up the difference in salary (and then some) if James agreed to leave Cleveland for New York or New Jersey. In fact, Nike, Sprite, and other blue-chip corporations would probably pay more than five million dollars for their biggest star to ball in the world’s biggest market …

LeBron James' next contract, Denver's options with Iverson, and Nash's place in my point guard rankingsPart of scribing for HoopsVibe The Blog is responding to reader comments and questions. Recently, we’ve started a new feature addressing your queries in the opinion box below.

So read our work and get at us with your thoughts on all things NBA. That’s what the opinion box is for. And we’ll always respond.

Comment: “LeBron doesn’t have to move to New York to make more money – whereas if he does move – he cuts his potential future earnings by an average of about 5 mil a year by the end of his career. Do the math – successive max contracts are based on the value of the previous contract, and LeBron would have to take significantly less money than the max that CLE (Cleveland) can offer.” –Dan on why LeBron James could stay in Cleveland.

Answer: Hi Dan. Thanks for the comment. You are absolutely right; no need to do the math. The Cavaliers, in adherence to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, can pay James a greater salary than the Knicks and Nets.

However, James’ sponsors, like Nike and Sprite, don’t follow a CBA or salary cap. And these fortune five hundred companies would likely make up the difference in salary (and then some) if James agreed to leave Cleveland for New York or New Jersey.

Sponsorship dollars could force the hulking forward to leave Ohio for the NYC area.

Comment: “The Nuggets are clearly cutting salary with the Camby deal. I really believe Iverson is next to go.” – John.

Answer: Hi John. Thanks for the email. The Nuggets have four options with Iverson, who is heading into the final year of his 20 million dollar per season contract.

First, Denver can keep Iverson for the coming season and ink him to a long-term extension. This is unlikely because the organization believes The Answer-‘Melo duo won’t win come playoff time.

Second, Denver can keep Iverson for the coming season, allow his contract to expire, and acquire new players via trades or free agency.

Third, Denver can trade Iverson and rebuild –under this option, they’ll seek expiring contracts, draft picks, prospects, and emerging stars.

Fourth, Denver can trade Iverson for an established star. The Nuggets will swap their tiny guard for another co-star to play with Carmelo Anthony.

It’s unclear what the Mile High City will do. The club is apparently exploring all options. Whatever they decide, Denver must consider Anthony’s reaction to an Iverson trade and any rebuilding project.

Comment : “Backed by da Spurs, you’re ridiculous to say Nash isn’t in the top 5 point guards: CP (Chris Paul), Nash, Jason Kidd, Tony Parker, and maybe D-Will (Deron Williams).” – MC.

Answer:  I agree MC. Two MVPs. Highlight dimes. Leadership. And class. Yes, Nash is most certainly a top table-setter. Forget hometown bias, the Suns’ point guard is still at the top of his game.

For the record, here is my current top ten point guards. After reading my list, you can get at me with hate mail, death threats, and your top ten in the opinion box below.

  1. Chris Paul: Easily the game’s best point guard and quickly becoming one of the NBA’s best players. Last year, CP3 dominated on offence and had a surprisingly good campaign on defence, too. Expect big things for the coming season.

  1. Steve Nash: An amazing talent who can score, pass, and serves as an on-court coach. However, Kid Canada will never become a top defender and, at 34, could be on the decline.

  1. Deron Williams: The next Jason Kidd, only with a better jump shot, will lead the Jazz long-term after inking a multi-year extension. 

  1. Chauncey Billups: Mr. Big Shot still dominates both ends of the floor. Billups’ all-around game has helped Detroit stay competitive for several seasons.

  1. Tony Parker: Parker is a winner and I love how he keeps getting better. For example, Mr. Longoria’s improved shot keeps defences honest, which creates space for his trademark drives. Oh yeah, he also has plenty of Championship bling and an NBA Finals MVP. 

  1. Baron Davis: Heaps of talent and charisma. Fair or not, injuries, conditioning, and controversy have held him back. 

  1. Jason Kidd: The future Hall of Famer is still great, but struggled in Dallas with the point guard heavy Western Conference. 

  1. Gilbert Arenas: Injuries and chemistry concerns have cooled The Hibachi from achieving a top five ranking. 

  1. Jose Calderon: Number nine with a bullet. This Euro is finally Toronto’s undisputed starter, so expect big things in the future. 

  1.  Derek Fisher: A steady veteran, Fisher’s professionalism helped Utah and Los Angeles mature and turn-the-corner into contenders. 

Honourable Mention (in alphabetical order): Mike Bibby, T.J. Ford, Devin Harris, Kirk Hinrich, Mo Williams, and Beno Udrih.

Please note: Iverson spent last season at off-guard and was deemed ineligible for this list.

Will James end up in the NYC? What will Denver do with Iverson? How good is Nash? Get at us in the opinion box below and come back to HoopsVibe The Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of IBHMC’s on-line portfolio.