Somebody clear this up, is he actually going to make more in russia?
On a yearly basis? Yes, by a significant amount. Over the rest of his career? Who knows how long he'll play, but at the yearly rates it only needs to be for 3-4 years to make more than his $77 million contract would have given him takehome.
His rumored deal with SKA is worth roughly $15-20 million per year with no taxes (or something like 13%, there's conflicting reports). Compare that with $11.3, $11.3, $11.6, $11.8 and $10 million in the US over the next 5 years with the considerations of escrow and federal and state taxes (39.5% highest federal bracket, 8.97% highest in NJ, so nearly 50% total).
He will likely make 3-4 times as much take home pay per year in Russia
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It just seems like a situation everyone would want to avoid. Basically it sounds like a qualifying offer of unknown value. And if he is "qualified" and then doesn't want to play for the Devils? Now what? They own his rights, but it's not like you can ship him wherever you please, because he may not want to sign with that team.
Well, I guess there's always the next CBA. Maybe they can add the "If you retire, that means you're RETIRED, you idiot." clause and create some form of "leave" for when players flake out or have mid-life crisis.
It actually sounds like a Marx Brothers routine.
K: I don't wanna play here.
D: We don't wanna pay you
K: But you have to pay me
D: Not if you don't play
K: Then I'll go to russia
D: You can't go to russia
K: Why not?
D: We own your rights
K: Then pay me
D: We don't want to
K: Why not?
D: Because we can't afford it
K: Then why did you sign me?
D: Why did you sign if you don't want to play here?