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Reports: Lakers sign LeBron James ($104M), Bronny James ($7.9M)

Jul 2, 2024; El Segundo, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James watches at a press conference at the UCLA Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James agreed to a two-year, $104 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, ESPN and The Athletic reported Wednesday.

The move represents only a slight salary increase over his scheduled 2024-25 season salary of $51.4 million in the form of a player option.

But James opted out of his contract last week, one day after the Lakers selected his oldest son, Bronny, with the 55th pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. Even before the potential of the father-son pairing, all signs pointed to James playing his 22nd NBA season — seventh with Los Angeles.

Bronny James also reportedly officially signed with Los Angeles, netting a four-year contract worth $7.9 million, an unusual step in the NBA for a second-round draft pick. The Lakers hold an option for the final season (2027-28). Players selected in the second round are not required under the collective bargaining agreement to be guaranteed any portion of their salary at signing.

The LeBron James deal, culminated on the fourth day of free agency, includes a no-trade clause and a player option for the 2025-26 season.

The delay in hammering out the deal reportedly was a byproduct of James’ attempted recruiting mission, which appears to have been unsuccessful in landing another “impact” free agent.

ESPN reported James wanted to bring either Klay Thompson or DeMar DeRozan to Los Angeles. Thompson reportedly had a $20 million-per-season contract waiting from the Lakers, but he opted to join Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic with the Western Conference champion Dallas Mavericks.

DeRozan, a Los Angeles native who played at Southern California, remained unsigned as of Wednesday morning. Reports linked him to the Sacramento Kings, but after James signed for the maximum, the Lakers would need to shed salary in a sign-and-trade agreement with the Chicago Bulls to acquire DeRozan.

The elder James, who turns 40 in December, expressed multiple times that he wanted to play with his son before ending his career. He watched from the back of the training facility as Bronny James and first-round pick Dalton Knecht were formally introduced at a news conference on Tuesday.

LeBron James averaged 25.7 points, 8.3 assists and 7.3 rebounds in 71 games in the 2023-24 season.

James, a four-time league MVP, became the first player in history to top 40,000 career points last season. He’s a 20-time All-Star and has career averages of 27.1 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.4 assists in 1,492 regular-season games.

–Field Level Media

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