LeBron James’ $97.1 million contract extension makes him the highest-paid player in NBA history

LOS ANGELES — LeBron James has agreed to a two-year contract extension worth $97.1 million through the 2024-25 season with the Los Angeles Lakers, his agent said on Wednesday.

Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul said the league-max deal makes James the highest-paid player in NBA history. His new contract includes a player option that would keep the second-top scorer in NBA history with the Lakers beyond his 40th birthday in December 2024.

James, 37, is heading into the final year of his most recent contract with the Lakers, who signed the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player and four-time league champion in July 2018. The new contract means the 18-time All-Star will make $46.7 million this season.

Barring an injury, James Kareem is likely to surpass Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s career leading scorer this winter. James and the Lakers are also still hoping to be in contention for another title if James and Anthony Davis can return in full health after an injury-plagued 2021-22 game ended without a playoff appearance.

James’ new contract aligns with Davis’ recent contract extension with the Lakers, allowing both to leave the Lakers or negotiate new contracts in 2024. Both superstars are represented by Klutch.

James’ re-signing with the Lakers also silences the ongoing talk of his possible exit as a free agent or in a trade. James didn’t seem to be going anywhere on social media or in his public appearances, and he praised the hiring of new Lakers coach Darvin Ham.

James has missed significant portions of the season in three of his four years with the Lakers due to injuries. He was largely healthy during the extended 2019-20 season when the Lakers won the franchise’s 17th NBA title in the Florida bubble, and he was the dominant player of his prime for the following two years when he was at full strength was.

Though his contract status drew a lot of chatter during the offseason, it seemed unlikely James would make a move after spending the last four seasons of his 19-year career with the legendary Lakers. His family lives in Los Angeles, where his eldest son, Bronny, is a 17-year-old senior and college basketball player who plays at Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth.

James has said on occasion that he intends to play on the same team with Bronny when his son reaches the NBA. Though there are still many roadblocks between the younger James and the NBA, he could be draft-eligible in the summer of 2024.

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