August 18: The Lakers have officially signed James to extra time, the team announced (Twitter link via Marc Stein).
August 17: Superstar ahead LeBron James has agreed to a contract extension with the Lakersintermediary Rich Paul of Klutch Sports tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
It will be a new two-year deal with a maximum salary, including a player option for the second year, according to Wojnarowski. That means James is now under contract with the Lakers until at least the 2023/24 season, with an option on ’24/25. The deal also includes a 15% trade kicker, Woj added.
James will earn $44,474,988 in 2022/23, which is more than the standard maximum of $43,279,250 for a player with more than 10 years of NBA experience. Since he is still eligible for a 5% raise for a new renewal, LeBron’s 2023/24 salary will likely be $46,698,737. His 24/25 player option will be worth $50,434,636, an increase of 8% in the first year of his renewal, for a total value of $97,133,373 over two years.
The value of James’ extension could rise further if the NBA salary cap for ’23/24 comes in higher than expected. The cap is currently estimated at $133 million, but if it eventually exceeds $133,425,000, LeBron’s starting salary on the extension would be worth 35% of the cap instead.
[RELATED: 2022/23 NBA Contract Extension Tracker]
James was eligible for another two-year extension on August 4. He was ineligible to sign a longer contract due to the NBA’s over 38 rule.
Despite his newfound suitability, there was a feeling that James wouldn’t strike a new deal right away. The four-time MVP would have been able to maintain influence and perhaps exert more influence on the Lakers’ roster moves by sticking to that commitment. Taking that route would also have given LeBron a chance to review the team’s additions — and a new head coach. Darvin Ham – during the 2022/23 season.
However, it seems James was comfortable renewing his commitment to the Lakers despite last season’s disappointing 33-49 and lingering questions about the roster. The new deal gives LeBron the chance to become an unrestricted free agent at age 39, after which he is expected to try working with his son Bronny Jameseligible for the design no earlier than 2024.
While the Lakers almost certainly wouldn’t have considered relocating him anyway, James’ extension will make him ineligible to be traded during the 2022/23 season – he cannot be moved six months after the contract was signed. treated because it exceeds the NBA’s “extend-and-trade” restrictions.
As ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) previously noted, the Lakers’ potential cap-room in 2023 will not be affected in any way by James’ new extension, as his free-agent cap-hold would have been equal to his renewal salary. Los Angeles projects will have over $20MM in the room next summer when several contracts – including: Russell Westbrook‘s – expired, which will open up some options for the team, but won’t be enough for another player with a maximum salary.
James’ new deal makes him the highest paid player in NBA history in terms of total earnings, at least for now, Marks tweets. Assuming LeBron’s deal ends up being worth $97.1 million, he will have $532 million in career earnings, more than Kevin Durantis $508MM.