LeBron James’ history-making $97.1m contract extension with LA Lakers and what it means for the NBA

LeBron James’ history-making $97.1m contract extension with LA Lakers and what it means for the NBA
LeBron James’ history-making $97.1m contract extension with LA Lakers and what it means for the NBA

According to the financial magazine Forbes, the top 50 athletes in the world will earn a combined $3 billion in 2022. One of those great sports persons to grace Forbes’ list of richest players is NBA living legend, LeBron James. This year, James ranks as the second highest-paid player, just behind soccer star Lionel Messi, with $121.2m made.

James’ recent history-making $97.1m contract extension with the LA Lakes has helped keep the guard near the top of the richest athletes in the world. The new contract extension also keeps James at one of the NBA’s premier teams and capable of winning the Association’s championship in 2022-23.

The 2022-23 NBA season tips off on Tuesday, October 19 with the Golden State Warriors defending their NBA Championship. The Warriors will start the season against James and the LA Lakes, and NBA betters can use the latest Dafabet deposit bonus when they sign-up to the sportsbook to wager on the game on opening night.

James agreed to the new two-year, $97.1m contract extension on August 17. The new contract has a player option, which would add a third season to the deal. The contract will likely keep James in Los Angeles until the end of his career. Now 37, James would remain with the Lakers until at least 40 years old.

The contract extension makes James the highest-earning basketball player in the league’s history. The contract will see James earn $532m guaranteed over the course of his NBA basketball career. There were fears in Los Angeles that James would test the free-agent market in the summer of 2023 after the final year of his current contract expires.

James had tested free agency three times previously, leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for Miami before returning a few years later. In 2018, James left the Cavs once more, this time for the LA Lakers.

After leading the LA Lakers to the 2020 NBA title, they struggled in back-to-back seasons. In 2020-21, the Lakers finished seventh in the Western Conference, just making the playoffs. Last season, the Lakers missed the NBA Playoffs entirely.

Overall, the 2021-22 campaign was a disaster for Los Angeles. Despite the season being a shambles from a team perspective, James had an outstanding season from an individual perspective. He averaged 30.3 points per game, 6.2 assists, and 8.2 rebounds while playing just 56 of the 82-game seasons.

James is a four-time NBA Champion, four-time NBA Finals MVP, and 18-time All-Star. He is likely to add to the All-star selection count this season and could very well tick another NBA title.

The 2022-23 NBA season will see new coach Darvin Ham take charge of the Lakers. The team fired head coach Frank Vogel after the 2021-22 campaign as the Lakers tallied a 33-49 record.

The Lakers have already added Patrick Beverley from the Utah Jazz via a trade. The team is still in search of a third big-money signing this offseason as the Lakers have the ability to offer one more player a max contract.

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