How Los Angeles plans to approach LeBron James’ future

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has emerged as one of the top potential free agents on the market this summer — despite being 39 years old and on the cusp of his record-breaking 22nd professional season.

According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the Lakers will be happy to give James any deal he wants. Due to the latest CBA’s new Over-38 rule, the most James can be re-signed for is a three-year contract, notes Sam Quinn of CBS Sports. At most, he could pick up his $51.4 million player option with the Lakers for 2024-2025, and with 8% annual raises built in, he would make a total of $164.3 million on the deal in the 2026-2027 season, when he I would turn 42 halfway through the season.

Buha reports that James, however, hopes to play just one or two more years, which would still take him to a record-breaking 23rd season but would theoretically limit his earnings to $105.7 million over those two seasons.

The 6-foot-4 big man may no longer be the most dominant force in the NBA, but he remains one of the league’s 25 or so best players. The 20-time All-NBA and All-Star honoree was healthier than he had been since the 2019-20 season, appearing in 71 regular-season games. James averaged 25.7 points on a .540/.410/.750 slash line, 8.3 assists, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 0.5 blocks per night.

More Lakers: Another rumored Lakers coach candidate cleared for interview with Cleveland