In Lebron's case, he didn't even receive the max contract. It was the salary cap that seemed to provide the limitation that he, Wade, and Bosh had to solve. They clearly valued a likely Championship into the equation and put a personal value on that which made up for the loss in salary. In fact, Lebron may have factored in that he would win 7 or more Championships. Their strategy is a valid one for all of the 4 major sports. Just take less salary with the assurance that other great players will do the same and try to ensure that you will be a Champion. You'll probably make it all up in endorsements and you'll be much happier. It may even be worth playing for free for a year to do it (which is essentially what many veterans decide when they take the vet's minimum to join a contender). While the lack of state income tax in FL is a clear advantage, I have a hard time believing that the players actually care that much. For instance, if Detroit was the state with no income tax, I doubt it would have become the destination for LBJ, Wade, and the other guy.