Clone of Report: LeBron James, Lakers agree to two-year, $97.1 million extension

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Report: LeBron James, Lakers agree to two-year, $97.1 million extension originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

LeBron James reportedly agreed to a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The deal brings James’ guaranteed earnings to $532 million, surpassing Kevin Durant as the highest-earning player in NBA history.

James, 37, is entering the final year of a two-year, $85.7 million contract. He was set to make $44.5 million this season. The deal also reportedly comes with a player option for the 2024-25 season.

James has become a centerpiece of the Western Conference since joining the Lakers in 2018. He led the franchise to its 17th NBA championship, beating the Miami Heat 4-2 in the 2020 NBA bubble, and helped attract All-Star talent including Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook.

The last two seasons, however, have been anything but smooth sailing in Los Angeles. Following his fourth NBA championship, James battled injuries and missed almost half of the 2020-21 regular season. The Lakers made the NBA playoffs but were quickly bounced 4-2 in the first round by the Phoenix Suns.

Not even the struggles of that season could have been a premonition for what was to come. This past season, Los Angeles suffered what could only be classified as a complete meltdown, going 6-18 out of the All-Star break and missing the play-in tournament altogether.

As the Lakers look to return to championship form, locking down the 18-time All-Star was a step in the right direction.