The Lakers and LeBron James agreed to a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension. The deal keeps James under contract with Los Angeles through at least the 2023-24 season. 

LeBron also retains a player option for 2024-25 and his extension is worth up to $111 million over two years based on salary-cap rises. James, who will turn 38 on Dec. 30, was limited to a two-year extension because of the CBA’s “over 38 rule.” He can not be traded in the upcoming season with the raise in the second year of the extension exceeding five percent. The extension makes James the highest-earning player in NBA history with $532 million in career guaranteed money.

What This Means For The Lakers 

By signing this contract extension, LeBron has put the Lakers on the clock to rebuild a championship-level roster. As currently constructed, the Lakers have no shot at winning. The Lakers have at least two more seasons with a championship-caliber leader in James. 

The Lakers’ best chance to win another title with James might be this coming season. There is an option to wait till next season when the surrounding pieces could be better but James will be pushing 40. As long as James and Davis are both healthy and producing at All-NBA levels, the Lakers have a slim chance. 

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Decision Time For The Lakers 

The Lakers have to figure out if they’re better off trading Westbrook to increase their odds of winning now. The alternative would be standing still to maintain their cap flexibility for the summer of 2023. The problem with the second option is there’s a possible risk attached. LeBron James would be 39 next year and it is impossible to predict how much age could catch up with him in the coming months.