This is LeBron James’ last chance to sign a supermax contract

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 09: LeBron James
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 09: LeBron James /

This summer marks the last time LeBron James can sign a maximum five-year contract, and he can only get the supermax from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Perusing’s Terry Pluto column this morning, and the longtime scribe offered up a nugget that he didn’t know, and neither did I.

This summer marks the last chance LeBron James can sign a five-year supermax contract.

Harvard should offered advanced degrees on the NBA salary cap becuase it’s one of the most complicated structures to wrap your head around not just in sports, but in life.

Pluto contends that anyone who signs a five-year maximum pact must have the contract end by the time that player turns 38.

James is 33 and if he signed it now, he’d be 38 at its expiration.

Who knew max contracts were restricted by ageism?

If James picks up his option or signs another 1-year contract, he can only sign a max contract for a duration of four years (He’d be 34 when he signed it, and 38 when it ends).

All of this makes you wonder how James will view free agency.

He was never the highest paid player on his team until his return to the Cavaliers in 2014.

He’s made $203.7 million in salary during his 14-year NBA career, and that’s just for playing basketball, according to That total doesn’t take into account what James has earned in endorsement money, in addition to his other ventures.

So he’s almost made a quarter-of-a-billion dollars playing roundball…money’s still important to James based off the contracts he signed with the Cavs. Signing “one-and-one” deals with Cleveland ever since he returned not only afforded James leverage over the franchise to keep contending, but it also gave him the chance to re-negotiate for higher sums when the salary cap went up.

Now, confronted with the chance to get the “supermax,” you’ve got to wonder if James will sign, nearly doubling in five years what he made over the course of his 14-year career.

On June 29, another page will unfold in James’ free agency. Its when he can become a free agent by not signing a paper that opts him into his $35 million contract for next season.

Free agency commences July 1.

HIstorically, James has waited until after the first week of the July to make his decision, but that doesn’t appear to be the case this time around.

Next: Watch: LeBron coaches up kid's team in return to Miami

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said LeBron is speeding up the process, even taking his vacation early so he could get a deal done quickly, via RealGM.