LeBron James has just become the highest-earning player in NBA history. The Los Angeles Lakers forward signed a $97.1 million contract extension to rock the purple-and-gold for two more years. The deal also includes the option for the 4-time champ to play one more year into the 2024-25 season. James’ agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, broke the news to ESPN on Wednesday.
By opting to extend his existing contract instead of inking a new deal, James can be traded before the two years is up. However, the deal also includes a 15% trade kicker, which means James will net a guaranteed $532 million by the end of the 2024 season. And that will put more than $30 million ahead of Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant.
James is entering his 19th season with the league, and the extension ensures he will be at least 40 years old by the time his career is finished. And with the option to play until 2025, the 18x All-Star will have the opportunity to set some new benchmarks of his own.
First, he’ll have the chance to match — or maybe even surpass — NBA GOAT Michael Jordan when it comes to rings. Second, James puts himself in a prime position to overtake Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with the most All-Star game appearances as well as the NBA’s No. 1 all-time scoring leader. And third, “The Kid From Akron” can finally realize his dream of playing alongside his son, LeBron Raymone “Bronny” James Jr.
This past February, James, Sr. told The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd that “my last year will be played with my son. Wherever Bronny is at, that’s where I’ll be. I would do whatever it takes to play with my son for one year. It’s not about the money at that point.”
And James might even entertain one final homecoming to the team that drafted him, the team with which he knocked off the 73-9 Golden State Warriors: the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“The door’s not closed on that,” he told Lloyd. “I’m not saying I’m coming back and playing, I don’t know. I don’t know what my future holds.”