LeBron James inks 2-year, $97.1 million deal with Lakers

LeBron James inks 2-year, $97.1 million deal with Lakers

LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension through the 2024-25 season, according to his agent.

According to Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, the league-maximum contract makes James the highest-paid player in NBA history. His new contract includes a player option that would keep the Lakers’ second-leading scorer past his 40th birthday in December 2024.

James, 37, is entering the final year of his most recent contract with the Lakers, who signed the four-time NBA MVP and four-time league champion in July 2018. With the new contract, the 18-time All-Star will earn $46.7 million this season.

Barring an injury, James will likely surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer this winter. James and the Lakers also hope to be in contention for another title if James and Anthony Davis can return to full health after missing the playoffs due to injuries in 2021-22.

James’ new contract coincides with Davis’ most recent contract extension with the Lakers, allowing both players to leave the team or negotiate new contracts in 2024. Klutch represents both superstars.

James’ re-commitment to the Lakers also puts an end to speculation about his possible departure as a free agent or in a trade. On social media and in public, James hasn’t seemed to be leaving, and he praised the hiring of new Lakers coach Darvin Ham.

In three of his four years with the Lakers, James has missed significant time due to injury. He was mostly healthy during the elongated 2019-20 season when the Lakers won their 17th NBA title in the Florida bubble, and he has been every bit the dominant player of his prime in the two years since.

Although his contract status sparked plenty of offseason speculation, James appeared unlikely to leave the Lakers after spending the previous four seasons of his 19-year career with the storied franchise. His family lives in Los Angeles, where his eldest son, Bronny, is a senior and college basketball prospect at Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth.

When his son makes it to the NBA, James has stated that he plans to play on the same team as Bronny. Although there are numerous roadblocks between the younger James and the NBA, he could be draught eligible in the summer of 2024.