Lakers’ LeBron James Predicted to Sign 2-Year, $80 Million Deal

Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James

Getty LeBron James mean mugging.

LeBron James has until June 29 to exercise his $51.4 million player option for the 2024-25 season. He could land a new deal with the Los Angeles Lakers or another team if he declines it.

Bobby Marks of ESPN predicted contracts for 10 free agents, including James. Marks predicted that James would land a two-year, $80 million deal that would include a player option and no-trade clause.

“But what happens if the next James contract starts at $40 million, $10 million less of the maximum he can earn in the first year?

“Such a discount would keep the Lakers well below the second apron even if D’Angelo Russell opts in to his $18.9 million contract or takes less in a new deal,” Marks wrote in his June 17 column exploring contract predictions. “The Lakers could also sign restricted free agent Max Christie and not exceed the threshold. Teams below the second apron also have more flexibility to send out contracts in a trade.”

LeBron James Could Get No-Trade Clause in His Contract

James could seek a no-trade clause in a new deal with the Lakers, giving him the option of finishing his career in Los Angeles. If it didn’t work out with the Lakers, he then would have the option of demanding a trade to a new team.

A no-trade clause is rare, as only 10 players in NBA history have had no-trade clauses in their contracts, according to The Athletic.

James got one with the Cleveland Cavaliers when he signed with the team in 2016.

While a no-trade clause is rare, putting one in his contract could help the Lakers re-sign him.

“James should seek a two-year, $104 million contract that includes a player option and no-trade clause,” Marks wrote. “Because James has played in the NBA for at least eight seasons and four with the Lakers, he is eligible to include the rare no-trade clause if he signs an entirely new contract. A short-term contract would also give James the option to become a free agent next offseason.”

James Continues to Impress Despite His Age

The 2023-24 season was another impressive year for James, 39. who averaged 25.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 8.3 assists. He also shot the best he ever has from 3-point range, making 41.0% of his 5.1 attempts per game.

The Lakers struggled as a team, finishing seventh in the Western Conference with a 47-35 record and losing in the first round, but James was still a big part of them getting to the playoffs.

Keeping James on a new deal and adding players in the offseason look like the Lakers’ best plan to compete next year. Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said at the deadline that the Lakers are willing to make a trade for the right player or players if it becomes available, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

“If the right move would’ve been there at the right price, we would’ve pulled the trigger,” Pelinka said. “We’re not fearful of using future assets for now. It’s just gotta be using future assets for the now in the right way and the right deal.”

They didn’t make a move at the deadline, but they now have three tradeable first-round picks, allowing them to make trades this offseason. Those moves could ultimately help James decide to stay in Los Angeles.

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