Seth Udinski, FISM News
The best basketball player of the current generation is now the highest-paid player in NBA history, as superstar LeBron James and the LA Lakers have agreed to a two-year contract extension worth a reported $97.1 million for the aging star.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) August 17, 2022
ESPN reported Wednesday that the two sides agreed to the extension for the next two seasons, with an option for James to extend it another year into the 2024-2025 season, if he wishes. The contract puts James’ into the NBA’s top spot for career earned income at $532 million, surpassing previous record holder Kevin Durant.
James’ previous contract gave him a yearly salary of just over $44 million. The new contract, which includes a 15% bonus for James should the team choose to trade him, puts his yearly salary at $46.7 million.
The new contract solidifies James’ future and increases the chances that he will finish his historic career in Los Angeles. Ever since his rookie year in 2003, James has been the preeminent star in the NBA, making 18 All-Star Game appearances, winning four NBA Finals championships, losing in the Finals six other times, and capturing four MVP awards.
Additionally, James has led numerous teams on deep playoff runs. Some have decried the star for this, as he has reached the NBA Finals ten times in his career and only captured four titles.
However, fans cannot discount James’ impact on bringing those teams that far, especially in both his stints in Cleveland, when he frequently led teams with limited talent around him to success in the playoffs. He played in eight-straight NBA Finals from 2011 through 2018, including four straight with Cleveland.
James has won a title with each team for whom he has played, two with the Miami Heat (2012 and 2013), one with the Cleveland Cavaliers (2016) during his second stint in his hometown, and one with the Lakers (2020).
ESPN also reported that the 37-year-old James, who is still playing at an All-Star caliber level, is vying to stay healthy and competitive over the next few years in order to have the opportunity to play with his oldest son Bronny, who is currently a high school senior and will be eligible for the 2024 NBA draft.