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Los Angeles Lakers sign LeBron James to two-year, $97.1 million contract extension

LeBron James is signing a two-year extension with the Los Angeles Lakers, agreeing to a $97.1 million contract that will make him the highest-paid NBA player ever.

The 37-year-old forward entered the final year of his original two-year $85.6 million contract he signed with Los Angeles two years ago. On a franchise with some uncertainty, there was some speculation on whether or not James would remain in a Lakers’ uniform long-term.

  • LeBron James contract: $44.474 million salary (2022-’23, $97.1 million total (2023-’24)

Related: LeBron James would only leave Los Angels Lakers to play with Bronny

Ultimately, the two sides found a resolution. Just a few weeks after he became eligible to sign a contract extension, the future Hall of Famer is now signing on the dotted line with Los Angeles.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, James’ new contract with the Lakers includes a 15% trade and makes him the highest-earning player in NBA history. The total value of the deal can increase to $111 million over two years if the 2023′-24 NBA salary cap spikes.

  • LeBron James stats (2021-’22 season): 30.3 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 6.2 APG

James has previously expressed interest in finishing his NBA career as a teammate of his son, Bronny James. However, the top high school basketball recruit isn’t eligible to be selected until the 2024 NBA Draft.

Will LeBron James retire with the Los Angeles Lakers?

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors
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A four-time NBA champion and NBA Finals MVP, James earned his 18th All-Star selection this past year and was named to the All-NBA Team for the 18th time in his iconic career. With this new deal, he will tentatively remain on the Lakers’ roster through his age-39 season.

James is not eligible to be traded during the 2022-’23 NBA season, per ESPN, due to NBA rules with the second year of his extension exceeding a 5% raise. While he would be eligible to be dealt next summer, that would come with a 15% trade kicker for any team that acquires him

Related: NBA Power Rankings – Warriors and Celtics remain at the top after first wave of free agency

Notably, the Lakers do not own a first-round pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. If the franchise wanted to pick Bronny, allowing LeBron James to finish his career in Los Angeles, the son of an all-time great would either need to fall into Round 2 or the Lakers would need to move up into Round 1 to acquire him.

  • LeBron James career stats: 37,062 points, 10,210 rebounds, 10,045 assists, 2,136 steals

Heading into the 2022-’23 NBA season James is 1,326 points away from surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points) as the all-time NBA scoring leader. He is also set to pass Lakers’ icon Magic Johnson (10,141) for sixth place on the all-time NBA assists leaderboard. Both milestones will be accomplished this year and it’s widely expected that both games will be nationally televised on ESPN or TNT.

Related: NBA games today – Full offseason schedule, including start of NBA free agency

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