LeBron James becomes the highest paid player in NBA history

LeBron James has agreed to a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers, making him the highest-paid player in NBA history. as first reported by ESPN.

With the new deal, James will earn at least $528.9 million in guaranteed money over his career, surpassing Kevin Durant in all-time earnings, according to salary tracking site Spotrac.

Here’s a look at the 10 highest-earning NBA players of all time, including active and inactive players:

  1. LeBron James: $528,992,480
  2. Kevin Durant: $498,688,653
  3. Stephen Curry: $470,090,010
  4. Damien Liillard: $449,910,157
  5. Bradley Beal: $428,874,362
  6. Chris Paul: $419,909,419
  7. Nikola Jokic: $419,369,513
  8. Cities of Karl-Anthony: $406,491,723
  9. Devin Booker: $390,756,853
  10. Joel Embiid: $374,516,037

Despite James’ dominance over nearly two decades on the pitch, his career earnings have barely eclipsed those of the league’s young stars. James is 37, but the other players on this list are in their 20s or early 30s.

A big reason for this is wage inflation: As the first draft pick in 2003, James won just over $4 million in his rookie season, much less than the $10 million in salaries only the best picks can win today.

The contract extension follows another important milestone for James. Earlier this year, he became the first active NBA player to achieve billionaire status, according to Forbes. Besides his NBA salary, James’ net worth of $1.2 billion includes money from endorsements, business investments and his own entertainment production company.

James was entering the final year of his contract with the Lakers, which pays him $44.5 million for the 2022-23 season. With the extension, he will earn approximately $46.7 million for the 2023-24 season. It includes the option of a player for a third year, which means that for the 2024-25 season, James can choose to extend the contract or sign with another team.

Since this is a contract extension and not a new contract, James is not eligible for a no-trade clause, but it does include a trade kicker which grants him a bonus of one value of 15% of his salary if he is traded to another team.

The perennial NBA All-Star and four-time champion will enter his 20th season this fall, seeking his second championship with the Lakers, having won with the team in 2020.

Although the Lakers missed the playoffs last season, James played well, scoring 30.3 points per game – his best since the 2005-06 season.

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