The Los Angeles Lakers announced that LeBron James signed a two-year extension to stay with the franchise.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it’s reportedly for $97.1 million with a player option for the 2024-25 season. The deal can reach up to $111 million in total salary depending on the 2023-24 salary cap figure and also includes a 15 percent trade kicker.
James’ new deal also makes him the highest earning player in NBA history, surpassing Kevin Durant who previously held the record after signing a max extension with the Brooklyn Nets.
“LeBron is a generational basketball player who has proven to be even more impactful as a human being,” Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka said. “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with him, ensuring he’s a driving force of Lakers culture for years to come. The Lakers platform has proved again and again to be an ideal place for the game’s all-time greats to thrive and achieve. We are thankful LeBron has experienced the power of that. With his transcendent talent, unrivaled passion and dedication to causing powerful change in our society, LeBron continues to cement his legacy in Los Angeles and around the globe.”
The extension ties James to the Lakers for the foreseeable future and allows them to head into the 2022-23 season with one less distraction. After a tumultuous couple of seasons where Los Angeles woefully underperformed, some wondered whether or not the star had grown discontent, but this move all but puts those thoughts to bed.
Even though he is heading into Year 20, James remains one of the best players in the NBA and had an argument for MVP last year considering he averaged 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 6.2 assists in 56 games played. Physically, James shows no signs of slowing down and if he’s healthy then the Lakers will always be in the mix come the playoffs.
The timing of his extension gives him an out to potentially play with his son Bronny James who is draft eligible in 2024. James has been open about playing with his son wherever he ends up, and his player option could lead to him opting out and joining him.
James’ future in L.A. past this current deal is anyone’s guess, but for now, the Lakers have some more certainty for this year and the next which may be helpful in trade negotiations. With James officially donning Purple and Gold for at least two more seasons, L.A. may be more aggressive in trades as they look to turn this year’s roster into a title contender.
LeBron James expressed concerns in meeting with Rob Pelinka
Pelinka and the Lakers know that they need to do everything in their power to surround James with players that can help him lead the team back to a title. James and Pelinka met recently where the superstar laid out his concerns and the latter reportedly responded by assuring him they would use all their resources to improve the roster.
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