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LeBron James: Salary at LA Lakers below maximum pay – report

Forward James joined the Lakers in 2018

LA Lakers NBA player LeBron James

LeBron James’ $101.35 million (£79.2m) contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers is the first time since 2010 the NBA legend has not taken the maximum level he could have signed, according to a report.

Lakers talisman James’ deal is $2.7m (£2.1m) below the most he could have agreed in a move aimed at helping the team reduce salary cap issues, ESPN sources have said.

James will have a player option for the second season, allowing him a default no-trade clause by playing two consecutive seasons on one-year guarantees.


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LeBron James pay

The outlet said James’ salary had narrowly allowed the Lakers to escape having their 2032 first-round pick frozen from inclusion in a trade in 2025 as a penalty for a total salary bill considerably above the cap.

The Lakers need to avoid total salaries of more than $190 million for the 2024/25 season if they are to pay a greater salary to a player they bring in as part of a trade.

Speaking about salary limits at a press conference to announce the drafting of James’ son, Bronny, this week, Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka said teams were “living in an apron world”.

“Does it make trades more challenging? Yes,” he added. “Does it make good trades impossible? No. So we’ll continue to pursue upgrades to our roster.”

LeBron contract limits

James’ previous cut came when he joined the Miami Heat on a two-year, $68.6m (£53.6m) deal which left the team with $15m (£11.7m) to use.

Pelinka lavished praise on the NBA’s all-time leading scorer when the 39-year-old’s new terms were announced on Saturday.


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“No-one plays the game like LeBron James,” said Pelinka. “His commitment to continuous performance and long-term sustained excellence is unmatched.

“LeBron is one of the most dynamic and competitive players to ever take the NBA court and we’re grateful to have his leadership as he returns for a seventh season with the Lakers.

“Alongside fellow team captain Anthony Davis, LeBron and new Lakers head coach JJ Redick will lead a championship-calibre team that will play with great pride every time they take the floor.

“Entering his 22nd season of NBA basketball, LeBron continues to remind us that no obstacle is too big and no goal is out of reach.

“We’re so thankful that the history-making story of LeBron James will continue to be written in front of Lakers fans throughout the world.”

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Ben Miller

Ben has more than 10 years' experience in sports journalism, covering two EURO tournaments, European club competitions, the Premier League, EFL and WSL and a variety of other major sporting events.