While there’s been plenty of speculation about whether or not LeBron James might play for a team other than the Los Angeles Lakers, a new contract extension implies that his time in Southern California will continue for at least a few more years.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, James and the Lakers have agreed to a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension, which also includes a player option for the 2024-2025 season. James will turn 40 that year.
BREAKING: Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has agreed on a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension – including a player option for the 2024-2025 season, @KlutchSports CEO Rich Paul tells ESPN. James had been entering final year of deal worth $44.5M.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 17, 2022
James was entering the final year of his previous deal, which was worth $44.5 million.
Woj added that the two-year extension, which includes a 15-percent trade kicker, makes James the highest-earning player in NBA history. With $532 million in guaranteed money, he passes Kevin Durant for the honor.
The Lakers are coming off a disastrous season in which they were predicted to compete for the NBA title but ended up missing the playoffs entirely. Injuries and off-court issues plagued the roster, which includes Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis. And while it appeared that one member of the Big Three might get traded at some point, it now appears that LA is going to ride out the upcoming season with the aging superstars they have, for better or worse.
As for the supposed plan for LeBron to play alongside son Bronny James once he enters the NBA, that still seems very possible given the timeframe of the extension.
In the meantime, the news of an extension with the Lakers certainly got the NBA world talking.
Bronny draft summer going to be crazy https://t.co/bHplZZUvEh
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) August 17, 2022
Big for the Lakers to have this certainty moving forward, including in trade discussions https://t.co/NexLjLy6N5
— Trevor Lane (@Trevor_Lane) August 17, 2022
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) August 17, 2022
Contract makes LeBron the highest paid player overall in NBA history and also gives him a player option to play with his son in the 2024-25 season.
Bronny will be eligible for the 2024 NBA Draft, and if the Lakers don't land him one way or another, LeBron will go play with him. https://t.co/lzKYlRvaWI
— Julian Edlow (@julianedlow) August 17, 2022
I'm irrationally excited to see which team reaches on Bronny in 2024 to lure a 39-year-old LeBron in free agency. https://t.co/3w6PkKZhNb
— Bryan Toporek (@btoporek) August 17, 2022
And he’s still underpaid https://t.co/RLPianAEMk
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) August 17, 2022