LAS VEGAS -- Loyal readers will notice that I've made some mathematical changes in the two pieces on the 2010 decisions for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.
I am here to explain why, because that's the kind of guy I am.
The premise remains the same: All three would be better off financially in the short term by signing extensions this summer. The part that I missed -- as did some cap experts I consulted in working on the stories -- is the fact that the Big Three can only sign three-year extensions this summer. That's because only Bird free agents and players on rookie-scale contracts can get the maximum extension of six years.
The other factor that changed some of the numbers was the fact that by opting out next summer and staying with their teams -- or participating in a sign-and-trade -- LeBron & Co. would be eligible for bigger raises after the first year of the deal than if they signed with another team. Of course, they'd also get a six-year deal by re-signing with their current teams or participating in a sign-and-trade.
Here's the revised column reflecting the changes, and here are the updated scenarios. The numbers have changed, but looking at the next four years and the total values of the potential extensions and new contracts really illustrates how much the shrinking cap has changed the game as players decide whether to re-up or go for one more long-term deal before the salary structure is drastically changed by a new collective bargaining agreement.
One more thing on this topic: Writing about this is not meant to evoke sympathy for athletes who obviously make an incredible living most of us can only dream of. The point is not that we should feel bad for highly paid performers losing out on a few million dollars. The point is that all the decisions that determine how good the teams that you root for will become are made based on complicated financial factors like these. Pointing them out and trying to explain them should give you a little insight into why players and franchises do what they do when faced with such decisions.