LOS ANGELES (WGHP) — LeBron James has agreed to a two-year, $97.1 million extension with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
James and his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, came to an agreement with the Lakers on Wednesday to extend his time with the franchise for at least another two seasons.
James also has a player option for the 2024-25 NBA season which will allow him to lock in a third year with the Lakers if he so chooses.
Despite James’ status as one of the greatest players of all time, he is subject to the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement’s Over-38 rule. Because of that rule, James is limited in the number of years that he is allowed to sign for.
The rule exists to prevent teams from incentivizing players on the brink of retirement from being offered salaries past their playing years as an incentive to sign with a team.
James signing the extension also seemingly puts to rest rumors that he would consider a return to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a third stint, fueled by the Lakers’ disappointing season last year that saw them miss the playoffs entirely.
Without the extension, James would have been an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2023 and free to sign with the Cavaliers who are scheduled to have maximum salary cap space.
While the possibility of James changing teams has quieted, for now, the possibility of him retiring with a different franchise still remains.
“My last year will be played with my son,” James told The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd in February. “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.
James’ son, LeBron “Bronny” James Jr, is currently ranked as the 49th player in the Class of 2023, according to 247 Sports.
The structure of James’ extension would allow for him to opt out of his player option for the 2024-25 season, the same year Bronny would become eligible to enter the 2024 NBA Draft, clearing the way for the father-son duo to unite.
In the meantime, James will look to bounce back from two disappointing seasons after the Lakers’ run to the 2020 NBA Championship.