Everyone knows LeBron James becomes a free agent in 2010. In fact, some teams (the Nets) are already clearing cap space to make a run at King James. You can add Olympiakos to the mix. According to SI.com’s Ian Thomsen, the popular Greek team has interest in LeBron. Before you laugh them off, consider this: They can offer him $40-50 million per season because there’s no salary cap in their league. That’s double what he’d make from any NBA team.
At the most expensive levels of European basketball, the club owners are obsessed with bringing glory to their club and their fans as well as to their city and country. Imagine the glory that the recruitment of James would bring to Olympiakos. At the very least, he would destroy their cross-town rival Panathinaikos: The value of that alone would be priceless to Olympiakos.
The owners of Olympiakos already lose millions annually on their player payroll. It may be worthwhile to them to lose $40 million or more in exchange for the grandeur of LeBron.
From James’ point of view, playing overseas for a year could enhance his marketing status and turn him into more of a global star than he is now. He could build up his name in an entirely unprecedented way and then return home as a free agent to sign with the NBA team of his choosing.
I can’t imagine this happening for this simple reason: No one in the U.S. would be watching LeBron play. And that wouldn’t please any of the companies paying James millions upon millions of dollars to endorse their products.