“Certain Things That Sometimes You Have to Do”- LeBron James Reveals the Motive Behind Taking the $2.6 Million Pay Cut

“Certain Things That Sometimes You Have to Do”- LeBron James Reveals the Motive Behind Taking the $2.6 Million Pay CutLeBron James (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)


After turning down his first player option, LeBron James—the oldest player still playing in the NBA—signed a two-year deal to rejoin the Los Angeles Lakers. James agreed to a wage decrease in exchange for the Lakers being exempted from the second luxury tax.

James granted the Lakers some budget flexibility to bolster the squad. He accepted a salary of around $3 million less than he is expected to receive for the upcoming campaign. James explained his choice to take a wage decrease on Sunday at a Team USA press conference.

James said, “Like when you’re in a relationship — like I’ve been married for a while now. I’ve been with my wife since high school — there are certain things that sometimes you have to do…You have to understand in a relationship, in order for a relationship to work … both sides have to work.”

He clarified that he wants to protect the Lakers from the dreaded second-apron barrier. This entails losing the highly valued mid-level exception and a long list of other roster-building constraints. James returned the favor to the Lakers, with whom he has been a member since 2018.

James added, “Me being able to be in a situation where I can protect the franchise under the second apron, understanding this new thing is very hard on a lot of teams as far as them trying to get better and whatever the case may be. I’m, I’ve been in a relationship with the Lakers going on seven years. I’m absolutely OK with [taking a pay cut].”

The Lakers are still entitled to sign any player through the mid-level exception. They can also trade many players for one player in any deal, even after they sign LeBron to a less lucrative contract.

LeBron James’ Recently Signed a New Contract With the Lakers

To rejoin the Lakers for the 2024–2025 season, LeBron James inked a two-year, $101.35 million contract. For the first time in over ten years, James will get a salary below the maximum amount for the upcoming season. All thanks to an agreement that was almost $2.7 million below the cap.

James will have an opportunity to consider his future during the player option period of the deal. This allowed him time to reflect before starting a record-tying 22nd NBA season.

A no-trade clause in the contract ensures that he will play with the Lakers for the next campaign. After selecting JJ Redick as their new coach and selecting LeBron James’ son Bronny James in the draft, it was the Lakers’ largest acquisition of the season.

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