August 18: The Lakers have officially signed James to an extension, the team announced (Twitter link via Marc Stein).
It will be a new two-year, maximum-salary deal that includes a two-year player option, according to Wojnarowski. That means James is now under contract with the Lakers through at least the 2023/24 season, with an option in ’24/25. The deal also includes a 15% business kicker, Woj adds.
James earns $44,474,988 in 2022/23, which is over 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 on a new extension, LeBron’s salary in 2023/24 will likely be $46,698,737. His ’24/25 player option will be worth $50,434,636, an 8% increase over the first year of his extension, for a total two-year value of $97,133,373.
The value of James’ extension could increase further if the NBA’s salary cap for ’23/24 comes in higher than anticipated. The cap is currently projected to be $133MM, but if it ends up going over $133,425,000, LeBron’s starting salary on the extension would instead be worth 35% of the cap.
[RELATED: 2022/23 NBA Contract Extension Tracker]
Despite his new qualification, there was a feeling that James would not rush into a new deal immediately. The four-time MVP would have been able to retain leverage and potentially use more influence on the Lakers’ roster moves by keeping that commitment. Taking that route would also have given LeBron a chance to evaluate the team’s roster additions — and a new head coach Darwin Ham – during the 2022/23 season.
However, it appears James was comfortable renewing his commitment to the Lakers despite last season’s disappointing 33-49 showing and lingering roster questions. The new deal will give LeBron the opportunity to become an unrestricted free agent at age 39, at which point he is expected to try to team up with his son. Brony Jameswho would be draft-eligible no earlier than 2024.
Although the Lakers almost certainly wouldn’t consider moving him anyway, James’ extension will make him ineligible to be traded during the 2022/23 season — he can’t be dealt for six months after signing the contract, as it exceeds the NBA. “extend-and-trade” restrictions.
Like ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) previously noted, the potential cap room of the 2023 Lakers will not be in any real way affected by the new extension of James, because his free agent captain would have been equivalent to his extension salary. Los Angeles projects to have more than $20MM in room next summer when several contracts – including Russell Westbrook‘s – will expire, which will open up some options for the team but won’t be enough for another max salary player.
James’ new deal makes him the highest-paid player in NBA history by total earnings, at least for now, Marks said. tweets. Assuming LeBron’s deal is worth $97.1MM, he will be at $532MM in career earnings, surpassing. Kevin Durantis $508MM.