LeBron James agrees new two-year contract with Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers forward #23 LeBron James smiles toward the Memphis Grizzlies bench in the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, in Memphis, Tenn on April 12, 2024. (Photograph: AP)

LeBron James will return to the Los Angeles Lakers next season after agreeing a new two-year $104 million deal with the club, multiple US reports said Wednesday.

James, who will turn 40 in December, opted out of his existing deal with the club last week in a move analysts said would free up more money to recruit new players.

The NBA superstar had been widely expected to re-sign with the Lakers particularly after the team drafted his eldest son, Bronny James, last week.

James has long spoken of his desire to play in the NBA alongside his son.

ESPN and The Athletic said James’ new deal included a no-trade clause, meaning he cannot be traded to another club without his consent.

The four-time NBA champion, the league’s all-time leading points scorer, will be playing his 22nd season in 2024-2025.

He led the Lakers to an NBA championship in 2020, but has struggled to take the team back to the summit of the sport since then.

This year the Lakers were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

The Lakers subsequently appointed James’ podcast partner and television commentator J.J. Redick as head coach last month following the dismissal of Darvin Ham.