Yesterday Frank Isola of the Daily News wrote that Cablevision, which owns the New York Knicks, could circumvent the salary cap by giving LeBron James his own channel.
Ken Berger at CBSSports wonders if the proposal would fly under the league’s salary cap rules:
It’s all grist for the rumor mill at this point, as Isola points out. But such a plan would present an interesting twist in terms of how the value of such a channel would circumvent NBA salary cap rules. On one level, it would be no different than marketing income that teams in large cities can use to lure free agents. On the other hand, it’s not fair that a team that also happens to own an entire cable system serving nearly 3 million residents in one of the largest suburban areas in the nation would be able to dangle that asset as extra compensation not governed by the cap.
SLAM’s Marcel Mutoni says it could be a huge financial windfall for James:
If the League allowed the Knicks to do this, to pretty much waltz around the restrictions of the salary cap, the idea may just be crazy enough to work. A television network could potentially be the source of enormous revenues for Team LeBron — just ask the New York Yankees.
Let’s start by stating the obvious, the Knicks can’t include a cable television incentive in their contract offer. But this isn’t like the Knicks reportedly offering Michael Jordan equity in an outside company, or the NBA forcing Magic Johnson to divest his ownership stake in the Lakers so he could come back in 1996. The Knicks may be able to sell this as a marketing arrangement. After all, if the Cavaliers can sell a 15-percent stake to China-based investors to help increase LeBron’s marketability in Asia, why can’t the Knicks capitalize on their connections to promote James in their own backyard?