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Report: LeBron James Would Consider Playing in Europe for $50 Million a Year

Aug 5, 2008 – 10:30 PM
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Matt Watson

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LeBron JamesThe "LeBron James could go to Europe" meme is picking up steam. ESPN's Chris Broussard reports that a person close to LeBron has indicated that LeBron would strongly consider getting his passport stamped if he's offered a salary "around $50 million a year" when he becomes a free agent the summer of 2010. And from the sounds of it, at least two Euro teams are chomping at the bit to get in line:
The Russian team CSKA Moscow and the Greek team Olympiacos, which recently gave Josh Childress a contract approaching $30 million over three years, have already contacted James, according to the person close to him. The person added, however, that no monetary or contractual discussions have taken place.

[...] The source close to James said he would play in Europe only for a year or two before returning to the NBA. He said James would view it as an opportunity to popularize the game and himself overseas.
I know some people cling to the romantic notion that LeBron would never abandon the NBA because he cheered for it growing up, but let's face it, he didn't have Warren Buffet on speed dial back then. These days, James has big picture aspirations such as becoming a global icon as well as the world's first billionaire athlete.

If he can bank $100 million in two years while playing on an international stage and still return to the NBA as a 27-year-old free agent in the summer of 2012, well, why wouldn't he go? He'd still be in the prime of his career with plenty of time to achieve all of his NBA goals upon returning, and who knows, by leaving, he might freak out the NBA so much that it eliminates the salary cap. The more I think about it, the more this makes sense. All we need now is a European billionaire to step up in 2010.
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