clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Dwyane Wade Says NBA Superstars Are Underpaid—And He's Right

New, comments

Coming into a crucial weekend during the NBA Lockout, this might not be the right time to Dwyane Wade to rock the boat. Then again, maybe this puts the lockout debate in its proper perspective. In an interview with Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, Wade was asked how high free agent bidding would get if players were truly available on an market.

"I’m sure it would get to $50 million," he said.

And then he elaborates.

From Yahoo! Sports:

"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."

And he's right. He'll probably take all kinds of heat for bringing this up, but there's nobody in America's four major sports more valuable than the NBA superstar. This isn't to say the salary cap's somehow unfair, but adds valuable context to the lockout discussion.

While owners complain about getting a raw deal, they're able to profit off guys like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, and Blake Griffin, all at artificially controlled salaries that are tens of millions less than their market value. Why is there a salary cap, then? Because if there wasn't, A.) the market could bankrupt various teams, and B.) To afford superstars, teams would stop paying out big money for players from the NBA's middle and lower tiers.

But as far as the lockout's concerned, it bears mentioning. Before the last NBA lockout instituted a salary cap, Michael Jordan made $66 million over his final two seasons in Chicago, and he was worth every penny. Since then, the NBA's elite superstars have sacrificed profit potential for the welfare of the league in general. So, when NBA owners talk about slashing players' profit share by 10 percent and maximizing profits--can't you see why Dwyane Wade might be a little confused?