Monday , Mar , 09 , 2009 Oly Sandor

Recession could help Cleveland and Miami re-sign LeBron James and Dwyane Wade

Here is where conspiracy theorists have a field day. The thinking was always that America’s blue-chip companies would top-up the superstars’ sponsorship contracts to compensate for any loss in basketball salary. So, for instance, James and Wade sign for less with the New York Knicks, but Nike/Converse increases their shoe deals because both are more valuable in the world’s largest market …

Recession could help Cleveland and Miami re-sign LeBron James and Dwyane WadeBreaking NBA news mixed with analysis …

Their News: "We’ve managed to keep the ship afloat, and I think we will continue to do that this time," Stern said. "I’m not unduly pessimistic. I think when we see where this economy comes out, there may be some adjustments that are necessary at the team level and at the league level. But I think that in our players and in our union, we find a group of realists that are sensitive of the needs of our fans and our sponsors, and I’m optimistic from that perspective that we will be able to ultimately work something out.” Commissioner David Stern, ESPN news 

My Very Quick Analysis: Is there a silver lining to all this bad economic news?

Well, sort of. And this ‘positive’ will do nothing to console the out-of-work and struggling. Still, it’s worth noting that the recession could bolster Cleveland and Miami’s chances of re-signing LeBron James and Dwyane Wade when the two hit free agency in 2010.

According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement’s ‘Larry Bird’ clause, teams can offer their own free agents the most money (up to 30 million dollars) and term (an extra season) on ‘max’ contracts. James and Wade would have to sacrifice dollars and security to leave the Cavaliers and Heat for, say, the bright lights of Madison Square Garden.

Here is where conspiracy theorists have a field day. The thinking was always that America’s blue-chip companies would top-up the superstars’ sponsorship contracts to compensate for any loss in basketball salary. So, for instance, James and Wade sign for less with the New York Knicks, but Nike/Converse increases their shoe deals because both are more valuable in the world’s largest market.

Not so fast. There are fewer advertising dollars in today’s economy. Companies must weather the downturn and can’t enhance a celebrity spokesperson’s contract by several million dollars –even if they are ‘King James’ or ‘Flash’. But without advertisers augmenting their reduced NBA salaries, James and Wade would have to take less money to join the Knicks.

Circumstances can change. However, no, or less of a, ‘top-up’ from multinationals like Nike will surely factor into James and Wade’s decision come summer of 2010. After all, the NBA is a business.

Will the economic downturn impact 2010 free agents like LeBron and D-Wade? Get at us in the comment box below and come back to HoopsVibe The Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of ubin Malla.