It’s interesting to see the differences in life. Sometimes people take the route that gets them the instant cash and some people ditch the money because it doesn’t always make them happy. Some people love skydiving and others won’t even speed on the freeway. Everyone is different and what makes one person happy doesn’t necessarily make someone else happy.
I now give you the contrasting styles of the Cleveland Cavaliers and the San Antonio Spurs.
On one hand you have the Bruce Wayne style spending of the Cavaliers and on the other hand you have the Scrooge McDuck mentality of the Spurs.
For the Cavs, the mentality is to win at any cost. Salary caps and luxury taxes mean nothing. For the Spurs they’ll get the players they want… but at the team’s price.
First, let’s look at the Cavs.
LeBron James just signed a 2-year, $46.97 million max contract with the Cavs. That part isn’t surprising. He’s the best player in the game. Then they signed Kevin Love to a 5-year $110 deal. Again, it was expected because of how much Love can do for the team and his age.
Here’s where it gets fun. Tristan Thompson is allegedly trying to get a contract and a 4-year, $80 million offer. Why? Maybe it’s because of his emergence in the playoffs last year, maybe it’s because he still has a lot of room to grow or maybe it’s because he and LeBron have the same agent. Either way, he wants to get paid.
Iman Shumpert got a 4-year, $40 million deal and you still have the deal that Kyrie Irving signed earlier in the season for 5 years and $94.3 million. Oh and Anderson Varejao signed a 3-year, $30 million deal weeks before he tore his Achilles.
Considering the Tristan Thompson deal isn’t finalized yet the total amount of money given to the Cavaliers is nearly $320 million. That’s a lot of money.
Then again, the mere return of LeBron James has forced the Cavs owner, Dan Gilbert, to spend over a quarter of a billion dollars. That doesn’t even include how much he’ll have to pay in the luxury tax. (BTW it’s a lot) Even though the amount of money seems insane it’s both something that Gilbert has to do and something that makes financial sense.
Think about it, what if Gilbert decided not to pay the players? What if he played hardball with Irving and Love and let them explore free agency. What if Love went to the Lakers and Irving went to a team like the Knicks? Now the once feared trio of LeBron, Kyrie and Love becomes LeBron against everyone. (Which we already saw in the Finals) Now you have a mad LeBron who stats to remember all of the things that happened in the past. (That letter in comic sans)
Now, maybe LeBron leaves again and uses the narrative of carrying too much weight on a bad team. The media gave him a pass this year because of it so why wouldn’t we allow him the same thing if he decided to leave in a year or so?
Now, maybe it seems crazy that LeBron would leave again. After all of the hell that he caught for his ‘Decision” five years ago he couldn’t do it again, right? However, if he left again the Cavs value as a franchise nose dives again as well. Right now the Cavs are valued at around $1 billion. That’s nearly double of the $515 million it was valued at before LeBron came back. That doesn’t work for Dan Gilbert. Gilbert is in the unenviable position of spending money out of fear because not spending would make him lose just as much money, if not more. It’s a tricky thing he’s working with now.
On the other side you have the Spurs who all seem to take discounts in order to stay with the team. Sure, LaMarcus Aldridge signed a 4-year $80 million and Kawhi Leonard got a 5-year $90 million deal but everyone else is discounted. I can even argue that, with the new TV money coming in, the $20 million for Aldridge and $18 million for Leonard isn’t that bad. Reggie Jackson just received a 5-year $80 million deal ($16 million per year) with the Pistons and Greg Monroe signed a 3-year, $50 million deal ($16.66 million per year) with the Milwaukee Bucks. Aldridge and Leonard are better than both of them and don’t make that much more.
Then there’s the man who consistently doesn’t care about money. Tim Duncan will only make $5 million this year. Tim Duncan was an All-Star last year. He made All-NBA Third Team and was All-NBA Second Team Defense team last year. He could have easily made double if not triple if he really wanted to. Danny Green will make a little over $11 million this year, Manu Ginobili signed a 2-year, 5.7 million deal and David West signed for the veteran minimum ($1.4 million). None of those contracts equal what they could have gotten with another team and West literally gave away over $11 million to play with the Spurs. Gregg Popovich had the money quote before free agency started by saying, “I’m not calling anyone at midnight. I’ll be in bed. And if that’s the difference, then I don’t want them.”
Only Popovich can get away with that. If poor David Blatt said it we’d mock him relentlessly
The combination of all of those deal is less than half of what the Cavs spent. Both teams had their reasons for doing what they did and if things go the way that a lot of people think, the Cavs and Spurs will meet in the NBA Finals to figure out which style was worth it.