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LeBron James inks huge two-year, $97.1m extension with the Lakers

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension, according to multiple reports.

The deal includes a player option for the 2024-2025 season and makes James the NBA’s highest-paid player ever, with $532 million in guaranteed money.

The four-time NBA champion can choose to become a free agent in 2024, or wait until 2025 to sign with whichever team drafts his 17-year-old son, Bronny, who is expected to enter the league that season. James has repeatedly expressed a desire to play alongside Bronny, who is entering his senior season at LA’s Sierra Canyon School.

The deal also includes a 15-percent trade kicker, meaning James is unlikely to be moved before the deal expires. Furthermore, he’s actually ineligible to be traded during the upcoming season because the second season of his new deal includes a raise of greater than 5 percent. 

Lakers spokespeople did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for confirmation on the details of the extension. 

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report the extension.  The deal could be worth as much as $111 million over two years, depending on the fluctuating NBA salary cap, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania

LeBron James, 37, won the most recent of his four NBA titles with the Lakers in 2020

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension, according to multiple reports

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension, according to multiple reports

James was heading into the final season of his deal with a 2022-23 salary of $44.5 million.

Now he’ll earn $46.7 million for the upcoming season, while joining All-Star teammate Antonio Davis in controlling his immediate future. Both players can opt to become free agents in 2024 or 2025.

The Lakers are coming off a disappointing, injury-plagued season in which the team missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year and head coach Frank Vogel was fired and replaced with Milwaukee assistant coach, Darvin Ham.

Los Angeles has reached the postseason twice since James signed with the team in 2018, suffering a first-round playoff loss in 2021 and winning an NBA title in the league’s COVID bubble in 2020.

While the team has struggled with injuries, including his own, James played well last season, averaging more than 30 points a game for just the third time in his career, while making a career-best 2.9 3-point field goals per night.

James recently became the second athlete to become a billionaire, following fellow NBA legend Michael Jordan, according to Forbes, although James did it as an active player. Jordan, 59, was not valued at $1billion until 2014, 11 years after he’d retired from basketball and before he became the Charlotte Hornets owner.

James is only the second-highest compensated athlete in the world between salary and endorsements with $121.2million, beaten out by PSG and Argentina superstar Lionel Messi, who raked in $130million. However, the investment game is where LeBron has made enough money to dwarf the likes of Tiger Woods, Messi, Magic Johnson and Floyd Mayweather

James is only the second-highest compensated athlete in the world between salary and endorsements with $121.2million, beaten out by PSG and Argentina superstar Lionel Messi, who raked in $130million. However, the investment game is where LeBron has made enough money to dwarf the likes of Tiger Woods, Messi, Magic Johnson and Floyd Mayweather

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers watches son Bronny play with Sierra Canyon High School during the Ohio Scholastic Play-By-Play Classic against St. Vincent-St. Mary High School at Nationwide Arena on December 14, 2019 in Columbus

LeBron 'Bronny' James Jr. #0 of Sierra Canyon High School with his father LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers following the Ohio Scholastic Play-By-Play Classic against St. Vincent-St. Mary High School at Nationwide Arena on December 14, 2019

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers watches son Bronny play with Sierra Canyon High School during the Ohio Scholastic Play-By-Play Classic against St. Vincent-St. Mary High School at Nationwide Arena on December 14, 2019 in Columbus

As for Bronny’s immediate future, he still has one more season of high school basketball and is expected to play at least one year in college, which would make him eligible for the 2025 NBA Draft. 

Oregon Ducks fans had reason to celebrate after On3.com reported Tuesday that the school had emerged as favorites to land 17-year-old Bronny.

But before the Ducks faithful could celebrate their good fortune, LeBron effectively killed the rumor on social media.

‘He hasn’t taken 1 visit yet and has only had a few calls with coaches and universities,’ the 37-year-old LeBron tweeted in response to the report. ‘When Bronny makes his choice you’ll hear it from him.’

LeBron insists Bronny has yet to visit the University of Oregon, let alone commit to the Ducks

LeBron insists Bronny has yet to visit the University of Oregon, let alone commit to the Ducks

The recruiting process for high school basketball players typically involves a series of phone calls with each interested school, as well as an official NCAA-sanctioned visit to the campus.

Bronny, the 49th-ranked recruit according to 247 Sports and 39th-ranked according to ESPN, already has several suitors, reportedly including college basketball bluebloods Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina. (Coincidentally, the top-ranked recruit on both websites is DJ Wagner, the son of LeBron’s former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate, Dajuan Wagner)

It’s not outlandish to think that Bronny could ultimately land at Oregon, given the schools strong ties to Nike and his father’s decades-long business relationship with the brand.

Bronny is also considering staying local by attending USC or going back to his home state and playing for the Ohio State Buckeyes, according to the On3.com report, which LeBron has already refuted.

Tuesday’s report came after Bronny made headlines at a tournament in Paris over the weekend by throwing down an emphatic one-handed dunk in traffic, which quickly went viral.

‘OH MY GOODNESS BRONNY,’ James tweeted.

Tuesday's report was curiously seized upon by Portland Trail Blazers fans, who envisioned the future Hall of Famer signing with the NBA club to be closer to Bronny, if he goes to school in Eugene. Of course, Bronny is one of James' four children, the rest of whom will presumably be living in LA, regardless

Tuesday’s report was curiously seized upon by Portland Trail Blazers fans, who envisioned the future Hall of Famer signing with the NBA club to be closer to Bronny, if he goes to school in Eugene. Of course, Bronny is one of James’ four children, the rest of whom will presumably be living in LA, regardless

Ken Griffey Sr. (left) had the chance to play with his Hall of Fame son and namesake (right), just as LeBron James hopes to do with his son, Bronny, in the NBA

Ken Griffey Sr. (left) had the chance to play with his Hall of Fame son and namesake (right), just as LeBron James hopes to do with his son, Bronny, in the NBA

Tuesday’s report was curiously seized upon by Portland Trail Blazers fans, who envisioned the future Hall of Famer signing with the NBA club to be closer to Bronny, if he goes to school in Eugene. Of course, Bronny is one of James’ four children, the rest of whom will presumably be living in LA, regardless. 

Ken Griffey Sr. (left) made a name for himself with the Cincinnati Reds before joining the Seattle Mariners, where his son and future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. was playing

Ken Griffey Sr. (left) made a name for himself with the Cincinnati Reds before joining the Seattle Mariners, where his son and future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. was playing 

James, a Laker since 2018, has expressed interest in playing with Bronny, who could be drafted by an NBA team as early as 2025.

‘My last year will be played with my son,’ James told The Athletic 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 would not be the first professional athlete to play alongside their child.

NHL legend Gordie Howe teamed with sons Mark and Marty on the WHA’s Houston Aeros in the 1970s. Mark and Gordie also played together on the Hartford Whalers before and after the WHA’s merger with the NHL.

In 1990, former Major League All-Star Ken Griffey Sr. signed with the Seattle Mariners, where his son and namesake had already begun his Hall of Fame career.

The father-son duo hit back-to-back home runs against the California Angels on September 14, 1990.

The three Howes, Father Gordie (left) and sons Marty (center) and Mark make an appearance for the Houston Aeros of the WHA. Gordie and Mark also played together with the Whalers

The three Howes, Father Gordie (left) and sons Marty (center) and Mark make an appearance for the Houston Aeros of the WHA. Gordie and Mark also played together with the Whalers 

While the final years of James’ playing career are taking shape, he’s already mulling his retirement options – specifically, his dream of becoming an NBA team owner. 

The  Lakers forward is apparently in ‘pole position’ to land a rumored expansion franchise in Las Vegas, according to veteran NBA reporter Ric Bucher.

As he explained on his podcast, Bucher was told by league sources that expansion clubs in Las Vegas and Seattle could pop up in 2025, after the NBA’s current media contracts expire. James would be 40 at the time, an age when he could still be playing, but NBA rules prohibit anyone on a team roster from owning a stake in that club.

James has professed an interest in owning a Vegas-based NBA franchise.

‘I wanna own a team,’ James said in a clip from his HBO television show ‘The in June. ‘Yeah, I want a team…I want a, yeah, I want a team in Vegas. Yeah, I want the team in Vegas.’

Of course, James is already a partner in the Fenway Sports Group, meaning he has minority stakes in several pro sports team through the firm, including MLB’s Boston Red Sox, the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, a NASCAR team, and Liverpool FC, which he originally invested with back in 2011.



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