LeBron James Gives Los Angeles Lakers A Discount On His New Contract

LeBron James is taking less so his Los Angeles Lakers can do more.

The 20-time NBA All-Star reached agreement today to play on a contract below the maximum level he was eligible to sign for. The hope is the Lakers can avoid salary cap restrictions down the line, ESPN first reported.

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James signed a two-year extension worth $101.35 million. He could have taken a $104 million max deal, according to the media outlet.

The Athletic reported the new contract also comes with a player option and a 15% trade kicker.

James reportedly wants the Lakers to acquire an “impact player,” according to his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports. So far, that hasn’t happened, as the team swung and missed in its efforts to entice Klay Thompson or DeMar DeRozan in free agency.

Thompson’s new home is now with the Mavericks, and ESPN reported Saturday night that DeRozan is going to the Kings on a three-year, $74 million sign-and-trade, despite Los Angeles having interest.

The Athletic reports the team will now look at Gary Trent Jr. and Spencer Dinwiddie if Los Angeles can shed enough money and use the taxpayer midlevel exception.

James opted out of the final year of his $51.4 million contract in June.

The Lakers also avoided the 2023 collective bargaining agreement’s second apron — $17.5 million over the luxury tax threshold — by $45,000.

By avoiding that second apron, the Lakers avoid seeing their 2032 first-round pick getting frozen and being used in a trade during the 2025 offseason, ESPN reported.

James has taken a pay cut before. In 2010, he joined the Miami Heat on a two-year, $68.6 million contract. That freed $15 million to build the roster, and the tactic paid off with four consecutive NBA Finals appearances and two title wins.

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