LeBron James has reportedly inked a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers.
According to multiple reports, the deal includes a player option for the 2024-2025 season and makes James the NBA’s highest-paid player ever, with $532 million in guaranteed money. Kevin Durant previously held that distinction, with $509 million in guaranteed contracts.
The four-time NBA champion can choose to become a free agent in 2024, or wait until 2025 to sign with whichever team drafts his 17-year-old son, Bronny, who is expected to enter the league that season. James has repeatedly expressed a desire to play alongside Bronny, who is entering his senior season at LA’s Sierra Canyon School.
The deal also includes a 15-percent trade kicker, meaning James is unlikely to be moved before the deal expires. Furthermore, he’s actually ineligible to be traded during the upcoming season, per NBA rules, because the second season of his new deal includes a raise of greater than 5 percent.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report the extension. The deal could be worth as much as $111 million over two years, depending on the fluctuating NBA salary cap, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
James was heading into the final season of his deal with a 2022-23 salary of $44.5 million.
According to Mail Online, he’ll earn $46.7 million for the upcoming season, while joining All-Star teammate Antonio Davis in controlling his immediate future. Both players can opt to become free agents in 2024 or 2025.
The Lakers are coming off a disappointing, injury-plagued season in which the team missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year and head coach Frank Vogel was fired and replaced with Milwaukee assistant coach, Darvin Ham.