The announcement of the NBA schedule for the 2022–2023 season ought to have been the main item of interest on Wednesday, but LeBron James immediately came into the limelight.
James became the highest-paid player in NBA history after signing a two-year, $97.1 million contract deal with the Lakers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, just seconds before the release of the schedule for the upcoming season. NBA.
Because LeBron isn’t expected to potentially enter the market until 2024 at the earliest, James’ signing of the contract put an immediate end to any rumors that he might do so next summer.
Loss of the LeBron James Contract Extension
James’ previous two-year, $85.7 million contract, which he signed with the Lakers in 2020, has one year left on it. In the two years before the start of his new contract, he will make $44.5 million. beginning in 2023–2024.
James will have a player option for the 2024–25 season following the 2023–24 season, which will be his first season under his new contract. As a result, the NBA great has the option to become an unrestricted free agent in the same year that his kid Bronny is expected to be selected. James has publicly stated his desire to play with Bronny, and this contract will keep him in the position to do so.
He would be eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2025 even if he exercised his $50.4 million player option for the 2024–25 season.
Summary of the Lakers’ years
Let’s take a look at the other Lakers who are currently trapped in the short and long term, given that LeBron is under contract through at least the 2023–2024 season.
James’ new contract extension matches Davis’ contract because both players will be eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2025–2026 and have a player option through 2024–2025. Before Westbrook becomes an unrestricted free agency in 2023–2024, there is only one year of his deal left to run.
As you can see, the Lakers’ majority of offseason additions were one-year contracts. Reaves will be a restricted free agent in 2023–2024 while Walker, Johnson, Gabriel, Bryant, Brown, and Toscano–Anderson will be unrestricted free agents.
This indicates that Los Angeles should have enough freedom following the 2022–23 campaign to add another famous name to James and Davis.