LeBron James to Become Highest-earning Player in NBA History
After guiding the Los Angeles Lakers to their first NBA title in 10 years, superstar forward, LeBron James, has signed a new two-year-deal with the NBA champions.
The new contract will keep the 35-year-old in LA till the 2022- 2023 season.
“LeBron James is a transcendent basketball player and human being,” said Lakers general manager, Rob Pelinka. “This contract extension paves the way for LeBron to further solidify his legacy as an all-time Lakers great.”
James’ annual salary will steadily increase in the course of the next three years. The American great will be paid $39.2 million in the 2020-2021 campaign, while the figure will rise to $41,180,544 in the 2021-22 season. King James will earn $44,474,988 in the final year of his new deal.
By the end of his new Lakers contract in 2023, James’ career earnings would be approaching staggering $435 million, putting him well clear of the rest of the field in all-time NBA salaries.
In fact, he is already set to move to No. 1 in 2021, jumping above Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant.
At the end of the 2020-2021 season, the projected NBA all-time earnings leaderboard will look like this:
- LeBron James – $349,330,556
- Kevin Garnett – $346,862,398
- Kobe Bryant – $328, 237,108
- Chris Paul – $300,177,385
- Shaquille O’Neal – $292,198,327
- Kevin Durant – $272,151,842
- Dirk Nowitzki – $255,371,800
- Russell Westbrook – $247,545,187
- Dwight Howard – $246,235,755
- Tim Duncan – $245,964,351
If James sees out his new Lakers contract, he would have played 20 seasons in the NBA, having previously spent 11 seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers across two spells, and four with the Miami Heat. He will be 38 when his contract ends.
James is being rewarded for a superb season in LA when he helped the Lakers end their decade-long wait for a 17th NBA title. Prior to last season’s success, the Lakers had been a pale shadow of their once-mighty selves, failing to reach the playoffs in each of the previous six years.
James transformed the Lakers’ fortunes, averaging 25.3 points and a league-best 10.2 assists per game. He capped a superb campaign with an MVP-winning display in the finals against former team Miami Heat.
The forward is now the only player to win NBA titles with three different franchises, having claimed two titles with Miami, and one with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
James isn’t the only key Lakers player to sign a new deal in the last week. Seven-time NBA all-star, Anthony Davis has also put pen to paper on a contract extension with the Lakers, signing a five-year deal worth a reported $190 million.
The 27-year-old Davis was an able ally to James last season, contributing 26.1 points per game and grabbing an average of 9.3 rebounds during the regular season. He was even more dominant in the postseason, averaging 27.7 points and 9.7 rebounds as the Lakers powered to the NBA title.
Having tied down two of their most-prized assets to long-term deals, the Lakers will hope for an extended period of dominance, similar to what they had in the 2000s when Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal combined to make LA one of the most fearsome teams in the league.
With their 2020 success, the Los Angeles Lakers moved level with the Boston Celtics with 17 titles, making them the joint-most successful franchises in the NBA.
Many bookmakers already have the Lakers as favourites to retain their title next season, and stand alone on top of the leaderboard. If you fancy an early punt on the Lakers, you can do so on any of these top betting sites in Nigeria. They have great range and depth in their basketball sections.
The Lakers get their NBA title defence underway on 22 December, when they battle local rivals, Los Angeles Clippers.