CLEVELAND: Kyrie Irving signed a five-year contract extension on Thursday (Friday in Manila) with the Cleveland Cavaliers as the NBA club made moves that could pave the way for signing free agent superstar LeBron James. Irving’s deal, believed to be worth the maximum $90 million, ensures the Cavaliers’ point guard will be part of the club’s long-term talent mix. The Cavaliers announced the move on Thursday as fans awaited word on James, the former Cleveland star who left for Miami as a free agent in 2010 and led the Heat to two NBA titles and the past four NBA Finals. James opted out of his contract with the Heat last month, as did fellow Heat stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.



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    Even though I live in South Florida, I really don’r care where “LeBron”, or anyone else, plays a game. Frankly, Professional Sports is all about the money. Build me a new stadium or arena, let’s get those TV rights, buy our New Jerseys, etc. It’s all about Me, Me, Me–and Big Bucks for the players too. So what else is happening?

    But, did Mr. James really make the right decision? Perhaps he decided in favor of Family, rather than Strangers? Did he feel that he owes this to his Hometown Fans in Cleveland/ Akron? Or, did he switch teams for the money? Perhaps some of both.

    Last year, he reportedly made $53 Million, with $19 Million coming from the Miami Heat, and $34M from endorsements and other sources. So, with 64% of that income coming from outside sources, how important really IS the Money? If so, will that still be his to lose if he is not playing for the Team that made four consecutive trips to the NBA Finals–winning two. Oh, and obviously his four NBA MVP Awards. Now, if Cleveland doesn’t go to the Finals, then the NBA Final MVPs probably won’t be his.

    Now, let’s look at his after-tax returns. Professional athletes are usually taxed according to the State and Local Taxes earned on a per-game basis. So, since Florida doesn’t have an Income Tax, an apples-to-apples comparison must be made with regard to his income from games played.

    So, once the analysis accounts for the potential outside income–let’s say for the term of his contract–and the tax-neutral difference in salary, will LeBron James benefit from the move? Once again, I cannot possibly factor in his desire to play near his hometown, his loyalty to the fans of the Cleveland Area and, let’s not forget his reconciliation as to why he left the Cavaliers four years ago. Let’s just hope that he made the best choice–both for him and his Family.

    NOTE: LeBron James has always been a class-act during his four years as a member of the miami Heat, and as a resident of South Florida. I truly wish him the best of luck in both his basketball career and in his future life.