Not surprisingly, it seems like the Golden State Warriors made-for-TV rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers will continue on, because on Wednesday it was announced that four-time MVP LeBron James has signed an extension.
James, who was set to enter the final year of his contract, agreed to a two-year, $97.1 million extension, that runs through the 2024-25 season, and will give him the highest total of salary earned in a career in NBA history, surpassing Kevin Durant. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, that number could rise to $111 million depending on how much the salary cap increases. And, crucially, the final year of the deal is a player option.
James has built a rivalry with the Warriors over the years, after he and the Cleveland Cavaliers faced the Dubs in the NBA Finals in four straight seasons. The league was surely ecstatic when James left for the ultra-popular Lakers, where the teams could face each other four times a year under the brightest of lights.
The NBA enjoys making the most of the matchup and, for the second-straight year, is putting a Lakers vs. Warriors matchup front and center on Opening Night.
James and Steph Curry, the two brightest stars of the last decade in the NBA, have combined to win eight of the last 11 championships in the league. The Milwaukee Bucks title-winning matchup against the Phoenix Suns in 2021 was the only time during that span that neither James nor Curry was playing in the NBA Finals.
The Warriors certainly have the upper hand on the Lakers right now, as one of those teams is the defending champions, and the other missed the 2022 playoffs. But a team led by James, with Anthony Davis riding shotgun, is still scary as all hell, and the matchups this season will likely be extremely fun.
James’ player option is important. For a few years he’s maintained that he’ll stay in the NBA long enough for his oldest son, Bronny James, to make the league. Most importantly, LeBron said that he’ll take a significant pay cut to play alongside Bronny. With Bronny set to enter his senior year of high school, the earliest he could join the NBA is for the 2024-25 season — the year that LeBron could opt out.
So that’s something to keep in mind. Perhaps the Warriors will draft Bronny just to get a year or two of LeBron’s services.
I mean, really, could anything be more #lightyears?