July 14, 2024

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LeBron James signs 2-year, $104M deal to return to Lakers: Sources

LeBron James signs 2-year, 4M deal to return to Lakers: Sources

By Shams Charanis, Tess de Meyer, Jovan Boha, and John Hollinger

LeBron James plans to sign a two-year, $104 million deal to return to the Los Angeles Lakers, NBA sources confirmed Wednesday. He will have a player option next summer and a no-trade clause, the sources said.

The athlete Previous reports indicated that James intends to opt out of his $51.4 million player option for next season.

It’s no secret that James and Anthony Davis want major improvements to the Lakers roster. According to agent Rich Paul, LeBron He was even willing to accept a significant pay cut. To help facilitate the signing of a mid-level exemption worth the hassle for non-taxpayers. But that didn’t happen, and James eventually agreed to a two-year, max contract with a player option in the second year, according to The athlete Shams Charania.

With every passing hour and every transaction elsewhere, updating the Lakers roster becomes a bit more challenging.

Over the course of three days of free agency — and, indeed, since last Wednesday, when they finally acquired three tradable draft picks — the Lakers have made no significant moves other than re-signing Max Christie to a four-year, $32 million deal. And with the Summer League just days away, the team has yet to name a coaching staff around J.J. Redick.

It wasn’t for lack of trying. The Lakers were aggressively pursuing Klay Thompson, but Thompson turned down a Lakers offer of a contract extension and additional money to join the Dallas Mavericks, according to league sources. The team has now turned its attention to DeMar DeRozan, though the Miami Heat are currently seen as the favorite to land the 15-year veteran and six-time All-Star, according to league sources.

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The Lakers have been active in their trade talks as well. The athlete Reports earlier Tuesday said the Lakers had recently held trade talks with Portland, Brooklyn and Utah, among other teams.

“I think we’re always going to be aggressive in trying to make roster upgrades and we’re going to be relentless in continuing to look at what we can do,” said vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka. “This is the season to look at all the different things we can do to improve the roster. So we’re in the thick of it as we speak. That will continue in the coming days, often spilling over to Las Vegas, where all the general managers meet and meet, and other deals are being made. But we’re going to be aggressive.”

James’s contract extension would increase the Lakers’ roster to 15 players — the league’s maximum. The Lakers would receive $190 million in guaranteed salaries, $1.1 million above the second apron of $188.9 million, which would limit the team’s ability to make additional moves.

The new deal comes after news that James’ son Bruny, who was selected by the Lakers with the 55th overall pick last month, signed a four-year, $7.9 million deal with the Lakers that includes a team option in the fourth season, according to league sources.

LeBron has long expressed his desire to play with Bronny, 19, in the pros, famously saying: The athlete In 2022: “I’m going to play my last year (in the NBA) with my son.” The star forward changed that sentiment in 2023, telling ESPN that his goal would also be to play with Bronny “either in the same uniform or (in) a game against him.”

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If it wasn’t already clear, the Lakers will need to offload some players and may have to pay a team like the Detroit Pistons or Utah Jazz for second-round picks in order to acquire them.

Simply put, Los Angeles could trade Christian Wood and Cam Reddish to another team, re-sign Taurean Prince for $5.5 million, and have a 14-man roster on the second line.

But in order to get a player like DeMar DeRozan with the exception of non-taxable mid-level players, the Lakers would likely have to give up bigger contracts — like those of Gabe Vincent, Rui Hachimura and/or D’Angelo Russell. Max Christie’s new deal, worth an estimated $7.2 million on the payroll, remains a thorn in the Lakers’ side in that regard.

Because of a bizarre NBA salary cap rule known as the “over-38 rule,” Los Angeles couldn’t offer James, who turns 40 on Dec. 30, a contract of more than three years.

During his six years with the Lakers, James averaged 27.0 points per game in the regular season and scored 9,436 of his 40,474 regular season points, an NBA record. In his four postseason trips with Los Angeles, he averaged 26.1 points per game and helped the Lakers win the 2020 NBA title.

The Lakers had a 47-35 record last season before being eliminated from the playoffs by the Denver Nuggets in the first round.

James is a 20-time All-Star, four-time MVP and four-time Finals MVP. Next season will mark his seventh year with the team, tying his first seven years with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the longest consecutive tenure with any team in his career.

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