Taylor Tepper of NPR.com spoke with an economist who speculated that LeBron James’ salary should be “closer to $40 million per year,” well-above his actual salary of $17.5 million. The economist cites the NBA’s salary cap for depressing James’ earnings.
Of course, this is unrealistic since the NBA does have a salary cap the players agreed to during collective bargaining. But even within the confines of the cap, James is grossly underpaid.
The chart on the left shows the base salary for each member of the Miami Heat. The chart on the right shows how much each player would make if the same payroll ($83.4 million) was distributed based on performance. In this case, we used Win Shares from Basketball-Reference.com to measure the overall production of each player.
The results show that James is underpaid by $9.8 million. Ray Allen’s $3.1 million salary is also well-below his performance on the court. At the other end, Dwyane Wade is the most overpaid player on the team, making approximately $3.4 million more than he is worth…
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