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Are the Heat Ripping Off LeBron James, Wade and Bosh?

By Alex Groberman

According to Rich Steinlauf, a New York-based analyst whose developed a reputation among NBA franchises for accurately depicting players’ worth, the Miami Heat’s LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are being undervalued by the team.

While speaking with Ian Thompson of Sports Illustrated, Steinlauf pointed out that James, who is going to make $14.5 million this season, is actually worth much more:

"I'm projecting for next year he'll be worth $31 million," said Steinlauf

Steinlauf’s system is based on the type of impact a player will have on his team. From there, he deduces the player’s worth based on his share of the standard team’s payroll. Here is an excerpt detailing what the New York analyst thinks about the cost-effectiveness of the Heat:

Miami's off-season coup of signing James, Wade and Chris Bosh has given the Heat the league's most cost-efficient payroll, according to Steinlauf. While some will question the $18.3 million average salary Bosh will earn over the next six years, Steinlauf insists that the Heat are paying him what he's worth.

A lot of things can be taken away from Steinlauf’s system. While it isn’t necessarily fool-proof, the idea that James’ impact on the Heat franchise is only worth $14.5 million is crazy. Obviously the deal was structured that way so Miami could pursue Bosh and other seat-fillers this summer. However, the fact James is being underpaid is a given. Particularly when you figure in the revenue he’ll generate in ticket sales, ad sales, TV deals, jerseys and other products sold related to the team.

By his calculations, Steinlauf says...

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