Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James agreed to a contract extension Wednesday that will fatten his pockets.
James' agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Group, told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that the 37-year-old has signed a two-year, $97.1 million deal that includes a player option for the 2024-25 season. James is making $44.5 million this season in the final year of his previous contract.
Per Wojnarowski, James' deal could reach up to $111 million if the 2023-24 salary cap "rises to a substantially higher number." Per Spotrac, James is scheduled to make $46.7 million in the first year of his extension and $50.4 million in 2024-25.
This season, Spotrac calculates the Lakers to have total salary of $183.5 million, putting the team $59.8 million over the cap. Including James, Los Angeles only has eight players under contract for 2023-24, three of whom are on training camp/Exhibit 10 deals. When factoring in James' extension, the Lakers are projected to have a maximum possible salary-cap space of $31.9 million next year.
A four-time NBA champion, James will hope to lead Los Angeles back to prominence after helping the team win an NBA title in 2020. The Lakers had a disappointing campaign in 2021-22, finishing with a 33-49 record and falling short of the postseason. James missed 26 games while dealing with injuries throughout the year.
If the Lakers can stay healthy this season, they should establish themselves as contenders in the Western Conference.
Under new head coach Darvin Ham, Los Angeles is expected to improve on defense and solve its chemistry issues. James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook are entering their second year together, and they reportedly are committed to one another after they came to an understanding earlier this offseason.
With James in the fold for the next three seasons (if he exercises his option for 2024-25), the Lakers will look to hoist the Larry O'Brien Trophy at least one more time before the greatest player of his generation calls it a career.