LeBron James is obviously the NBA's biggest name right now, as his 17-year career has easily made him one of the most famous athletes on the planet.
So when James recently pushed back on a December start date to the 2020-21 season, it was viewed as a huge obstacle in trying to make the suggested plan a reality. Recently, however, the "King" retreated on his resistance to the idea, essentially green-lighting the return of the new season in just a few short weeks.
On ESPN, Brian Windhorst explained what caused the change of mind:
“LeBron initially pushed back against this, and subsequently, it’s been explained to me that LeBron changed his position,” Windhorst said on his ESPN podcast.
“He crossed the aisle and said, ‘I’m okay going December 22nd even though I have to change my routines and I’m not happy about the short offseason because it’s the best thing for business.’ LeBron owes the NBA money right now. He owes them cash. As crazy as that is to say.”
Interestingly, LeBron is one of a very minute number of players who gets his contract front-loaded and he has already received his 2020-21 salary in full from the Lakers.
Obviously, with the COVID-19 crisis and the plummet of league ratings, the NBA is having to take extraordinary measures to preserve its financial stability. This includes a dip in salary cap for teams, but also an increased escrow percentage on their contracts.
Basically, players around the NBA have to give up a portion of their contracts to give back to the owners -- that is, everyone except LeBron because of the conditions of his deal.
It seems James is doing his part to help the league ease its financial burden by complying with their plan to start before Christmas. It will be an interesting time, to say the least.