Blog Entry

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

Posted on: September 30, 2011 11:38 am
Edited on: September 30, 2011 11:43 am
Posted by Ben Golliverdwyane-wade

Miami Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade is set to bring in a salary of $15.7 million in the 2011-2012 season. According to Wade, the value of an NBA superstar is such that he might make more than three times that salary if the league didn't have a salary cap in place.

Yahoo Sports asked him what the going rate for a franchise star would be. Here was the response.
“I’m sure it would get to $50 million,” Wade told Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday afternoon.

“In terms of driving revenue, if the NBA had no cap, the compensation would be totally different,” Wade said. “Like baseball, where they have no cap, you see the players that they feel fill arenas, that people come out to see, A-Rod, those kind of guys, look at how much money they make on their deals.

“You’ve got guys – starting with Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe and LeBron – all players that individually people wanted to come to see. And wanted to just have a glimpse, just one glimpse, to be able to say that I’ve seen that person play. For what they’ve done for the game, what they’ve done for organizations, I don’t think you can really put a dollar amount on it.”

The only real flaw in what Wade said is that perhaps he lowballed the number. If the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls, or billionaires like Mark Cuban and Paul Allen, were able to get into a bidding war for the services of Wade or LeBron James unemcumbered by a salary cap, are we sure that $50 million per year would be the highest bid? Given how one star player can change an entire team's trajectory and global profile, it seems reasonable to guess that the number could go higher, perhaps much higher.  

Unfortunately for Wade, his comments, which are economically accurate, couldn't come at a worse time. The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association are set to meet Friday to continue a crucial stretch of talks that will determine whether the 2011-2012 season starts on time. For many, Wade's comments, because he is a star himself, will read as whiny complaining: "I'm underpaid." 

That message, even if that's not actually what he said or meant, hurts the image of all NBA players and the union's leadership, which is tasked with holding all the disparate interests of the players together. It's also the last thing anyone wants to hear when they must face the fact that their favorite team might not take the court like normal come November. All of a sudden, the guy who sells out the entire arena thanks to his fame starts to look an awful lot like a scapegoat.

Crying poor is never a winning plan for a millionaire. Not in this economy and not with the amount of money NBA players are taking home. But Wade didn't do that here. All he said was that superstars would make significantly more money if there was no salary cap. Whether the average person or casual fan reads closely enough to realize that, though, remains to be seen.

Since: Aug 10, 2010
Posted on: October 1, 2011 10:54 am

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

Groomtime it isnt waltons fault hes getting that if u want 2 blame some 1 blame the lakers management. If your boss wanted 2 give u $100 an hour would u say no i dont deserve that much?I think not. The owners need 2 share fairly amongst themselves and then call the players greedy not the other way around. Good read tho

Since: Aug 31, 2006
Posted on: October 1, 2011 10:50 am

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

The NBA has been in a steady decline for the past few decades.  Terrible officiating, worse defense and a lack of quality jump shots and fundamentals have undermined the game.  The NBA salary structure is also awful.  No contracts should be guaranteed EVER.  If you want to make your full contract value then you have to play at a high level for the full contract.

I have been to my last NBA game.  Period.  The financial structure has caused the league to raise prices on tickets, concessions, parking, merchandise and everything else associated with the league.  I may watch some games on tv but I will not pay the ridiculously overpriced fees they charge for a watered down product with entitled crybabies.

I hope they strike honestly and fans boycott the league much like baseball in the 90's.  Maybe then people will see Stern for the clown he is and get a replacement.  That would help, but really I think this league has set an unsustainable path and it is doomed to financial ruin.  Baketball is not popular enough to keep raising prices on the fans.  At some point people will just stop coming.  I have hit that point already.

Since: Oct 21, 2010
Posted on: October 1, 2011 10:34 am

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

If the players were under paid I would be on the players side, but I can't look at a NBA players salary and say he is under paid. "Luke Walton 5 million dollar guarantee contract" are you kidding me Gilbert Arenas with 3 more years guarantee for over 65 million. As a matter of fact, I would like to see it more like NFL than NBA, because it would be better for the fan. Hard salary cap with less guarantee on the deals. This would allow lesser teams to compete  with small markets, it happens in football all the time.

Since: Dec 19, 2010
Posted on: October 1, 2011 10:27 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Mar 4, 2009
Posted on: October 1, 2011 10:27 am

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

Cap it a 5 million a player and the ones who do not want to play for that "little" can go play in Europe and China. Then maybe the NBA will be fun to watch again because players might actually be out there for the game and not the money. I think 5 million is more than generous enough for playing a game.

Since: Oct 25, 2010
Posted on: October 1, 2011 10:24 am

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

Yeah, sure Wade, let's do it your way. But the only 2 people in the house, that could afford your absurity and actually want to be there, would be Jay-Z and Spike Lee. Every one else would stay home.

Since: Nov 20, 2007
Posted on: October 1, 2011 10:18 am

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

unfortunately d-wade or d-bag, in this case, doesn't see the BIG picture.  the salary cap is in place for several reasons and most of them benefit him and the salary that he does make.  the salary cap helps out the smaller market teams, which keeps the nba from contracting, which keeps more people employed.  if there were less teams, the quality of the players would be better and wade would probably score less points, and become less valuable or relavent to the league becasue the competition would be that much tougher.  the salary cap also benefits d-wade and his co-workers in the sense that it keeps ticket prices "reasonable". i use that word loosely, since the price of tickets is not always reasonable for most fans (see inner city kids as an example).  if wade and company makes $50M/year, that means the price of a ticket goes up.  if the prices go up, less people get to have that incredible once in a lifetime experience of watching d-wade, et al, dribble a basketball along side of and against some other sports superstar (just have a glimpse, just one glimpse, to be able to say that I’ve seen that person play").  take away the fans, there will be no one to watch the marvellous d-wade or even care about having that once in a lifetime experience.  you would think that someone with some life points under their belt would know what to say and when not to say something that could hurt their cause, such as this strike.  comments like the ones he made are going to turn off people who are on the fence in this matter.  when you alienate a group that butters your bread, you're shooting yourself in the a$$.  i personally gave up on the nba about 15 years ago, so i don't care either way.  they do not get my money or my support.  but when i hear things like this, i ask myself, "why do stupid people get the luck and benefit of having so much when others are left to suffer?"  actually, it makes me feel pity for d-wade.  he is lucky to have so much monetary wealth, but he lacks even bigger things that make us what we are.  assuming that he is from a lower or middle class background, it's baffling to see that he so out of touch with reality.  i hope d-wade gets his wish and the nba gets rid of the salary cap.  i want to see the de-evoltion of professional basketball into exticntion and my smile will project a radiant glow because i will know that d-wade and his greedy co-horts helped kill the nba.  long live hockey and football!!!

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: October 1, 2011 10:16 am

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

I agree if the salary of an NBA player is not sustainable then something has to give.   The Owner's are not in the business of taking out loans so that they can pay their employees?  It doesn't make sense and it is not good business.

Also, how many players would be un-employed if the league had only 6 (large market, I might be off 2-4 teams) instead of the current number, It just doesn't make sense and it is not good business for the owner's and the players. 

Since: Mar 30, 2008
Posted on: October 1, 2011 10:11 am

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

I just don't care anymore.  If they play I will watch, but I am not interested in giving them any of my hard earned money.
I do not put Wade in the same company as MJ, Shaq or Kobe.  I will not even mention the other guy out all together.

I geuss he could play with himself.

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: October 1, 2011 9:59 am

Wade: NBA stars worth far more than they earn

What Wade overlooks is that in order to pay them more, the owner has to earn more, which of course means higher ticket prices. The question then is, not only much would an owner have to charge fans for tickets, but would fans be willing to pay that? Would they even be able to pay it?

And of course, we all know what happens when a so called NBA superstar today ends up on a team by himself with no supporting cast...he doesn't want to play there, and runs away to play with other stars.

Could the Miami Heat pay Wade and LeFraud 50 million each? The whole payroll now is 64 million for the entire team. How much for the other 10 guys on the team? Ticket prices would have to triple or more.

Ya know what? I think Wade has a great idea here. I really do. The NBA should immediately kill the salary cap and do things exactly the way Wade thinks it can be done....This way, the NBA will be out of business in a year, and we could all move on to watching more interesting and entertaining sports. Like Football, Hockey, Badminton, Ping Pong and Curling.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or