Los Angeles - LeBron
James is to join the Los Angeles Lakers in a four-year $154 million
deal, his agents said on Sunday, ending months of frenzied speculation
about the NBA superstar's next career move.
The blockbuster contract sends the 33-year-old four-time NBA Most
Valuable Player to one of the league's most iconic clubs, adding to the
legacy of such legends as Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson.
"LeBron James, four time NBA MVP, three-time NBA finals MVP, 14-time
NBA All-Star, and two-time Olympic gold medallist, has agreed to a
four-year $154 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers," James'
management company Klutch Sports Group said in a statement.
James is considered a rival of retired Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan for the title of greatest player in NBA history.
However, he had endured frustration with the Cleveland Cavaliers,
culminating in last month's clean sweep defeat to the Golden State
Warriors in the NBA Finals.
James and the Cavaliers have been beaten in three out of four NBA Finals against the Warriors since 2015.
James had been linked to several franchises, with the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets reportedly in the running.
US media reports said the Lakers move was sealed following a meeting
late Saturday between James and the team's president of basketball
operations, Magic Johnson.
James, who has a home and production company in Los Angeles, now
joins a club with money to spend and a desire to rebuild into a
The Lakers have failed to reach the playoffs for the past five seasons.
News of James' arrival at the Lakers sparked a delighted response on Sunday.
"Welcome to the family @KingJames #lakers4life #striveforgreatness," wrote Lakers legend Kobe Bryant on Twitter.
"I am sure the Lakernation is rejoicing. The acquisition of LeBron
James means that the Lakers are just a smidgen away from being real
contenders," Lakers icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar added.
James, a two-time
Olympic champion, left Cleveland before in 2010 for the Miami Heat,
where he reached the NBA Finals four times, going 2-2, before departing
for the Cavaliers, vowing to bring a title to Cleveland, his home region
having grown up in nearby Akron.
That mission was accomplished when the Cavaliers won the 2016 crown
with James in the starring role as Cleveland celebrated a sports
champion for the first time in 52 years.
"Thank you Northeast Ohio for an incredible 4 seasons. This will
always be home," James posted on Instagram with a photo of the
Cavaliers' championship parade.
But the Warriors obtained Kevin Durant after that loss and Golden
State has gone 8-1 against the Cavs in the two NBA Finals since.
"To be able to be a part of a championship team two years ago with
the team that we had and in the fashion that we had is something I will
always remember," James said after the Cavs' last loss of the finals.
James informed the Cavaliers on Friday that he would not exercise his $35.6 million contract option.
And he also snubbed what could have been the most money and longest
deal available, the Cavaliers being able to extend James a five-year
contract worth $209 million.
But money and years of security were less a concern than being able to play for a title contender.
The Lakers can offer top money plus talent and draft picks in order
to surround James with competitive players enough to challenge the
Warriors, who suddenly must contend with James as a Pacific division
rival rather than a foe to be faced only twice a season and for the NBA
The Lakers have reportedly been in talks with San Antonio for unhappy star Kawhi Leonard.
And while such big names as Chris Paul of Houston and Paul George of
Oklahoma City have agreed to terms to stay with their teams, nothing can
be signed until Friday - leaving lots of time for players to consider
what sort of situation the Lakers with James could offer.
on LeBron James, the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player who agreed to
terms Sunday on a four-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers:
Born: December 30, 1984
Birthplace: Akron, Ohio, USA
Amateur: St. Vincent-St. Mary High
Turned Pro: 2003 NBA Draft first pick
Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers 2003-2010, Miami Heat 2010-2014, Cleveland Cavaliers 2014-2018, Los Angeles Lakers 2018
NBA Titles: 2012, 2013, 2016
NBA Finals Most Valuable Player: 2012, 2013, 2016
NBA MVP: 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013
NBA All-Star: 2005-2018
NBA All-Star Game MVP: 2006, 2008, 2018
NBA Rookie of Year: 2004
NBA scoring champion: 2008
Olympic champion: 2008, 2012