Why the Lakers aren’t allowed to trade LeBron James this season

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No, the Lakers probably wouldn’t even if they could, but they can’t trade LeBron James. Here’s why.

The Los Angeles Lakers started the season 0-5, the same way they started the 2014-15 season when they finished with a 21-61 record. With LeBron James aging, it’s important for the Lakers to be thinking about ways it can upgrade its roster to capitalize on the title window it’s (supposedly?) in.

Perhaps, if things get bad enough, an extremely drastic talking point will be the possibility of James himself being traded, be it to get him to a better situation, or for the Lakers to make a drastic pivot and retool.

Well, drastic as that may be, it’s actually not even possible, and here’s why.

Why the Lakers can’t trade LeBron James during the 2022-23 season

According to Adrian Wojnarowski’s reporting on the contract extension James signed before the season, he’s ineligible to be traded because the second year of his extension contains a greater-than five percent raise.

That means James is locked in with LA for this year, and let’s be honest, they’re not going to trade him next year either.

The extension James signed is a $97.1 million deal that has a player option in the third year which, as many have connected the dots on, gives him the opportunity to opt-out and head to free agency when his eldest son, Bronny, becomes draft-eligible.

James has earned north of $300 million in salary since his rookie season and became the first active NBA player to become a billionaire this summer. 

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