Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has agreed to a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension that includes a player option for the 2024-25 season, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul told ESPN on Wednesday.
The extension, which includes a 15% trade, makes James the highest-earning player in NBA history with $532 million guaranteed for his career, surpassing Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant.
James is not eligible for a no-trade clause because he agreed to an extension, not a new deal. But the new contract’s starting salary of $46.7 million, 15% trade, and James’ stature as one of the great players in history will likely make him a Laker for as long as he wants.
James was entering the final season of his contract (worth $44.5 million) and now joins All-Star Anthony Davis with the option of negotiating new deals with the Lakers or becoming free agents in two seasons.
With the deal, the four-time NBA champion and MVP, and 18-time All-Star removes fears that he could enter free agency next summer. Although he is approaching 38, James is still an All-NBA-level player and the centerpiece of the Lakers’ containment prospects.
James is not eligible to be traded in the upcoming 2022-23 season as the second year of his extension exceeds a 5% raise.
The Lakers could have more than $20 million in salary-cap space in the 2023 offseason and have the option to sign a third player to a max contract in the 2024 offseason. Player options increase cap space salary cap if players turn them down while remaining on new offers.
James, who turns 38 on Dec. 30, is limited to signing a two-year extension since he will be 38 or older when his current contract expires, a rule in the league’s collective bargaining agreement.
James’s oldest son, Bronny, is entering his senior year of high school, making him eligible for the 2024 NBA draft. James has repeatedly stated his desire to team up with his son on an NBA roster. before retiring.
The Lakers missed the playoffs in 2022, despite averaging 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 6.2 assists James. Injuries limited James to 56 games.