July 01, 2018
LeBron James' Decision 3.0 is over.
LeBron James agrees to 4-year, $154 million deal with Los Angeles Lakers
James has agreed to a four-year, $154 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to a statement released by his agency, Klutch Sports Group.
He has a player option for the fourth year, his agent, Rich Paul, told USA TODAY Sports.
And with that, the NBA’s landscape is forever changed by the game’s greatest player yet again.
James, the 33-year-old, Akron Ohio native leaves Cleveland for the second times in his 15 seasons, having gone from the Cavaliers to the Miami Heat in 2010 before returning in 2014. Even with all James has accomplished – the three titles, four MVP awards, three Finals MVPs, 13 All-Star appearances and two Olympic gold medals – this is a bold move for James. After returning from Miami, James led the Cavaliers to four consecutive NBA Finals, including one title in 2016 where James hauled his team back from a 3-1 deficit against Golden State. It was easily the most successful stretch of basketball in Cavs history.
James said earlier this season that his two biggest priorities would be winning and family when deciding his future. It's fair to assume his wife Savannah and their three kids played a significant role in this seismic move.
Maintaining his streak of eight consecutive NBA Finals appearances gets significantly tougher after leaving the Eastern Conference for the first time in his career. It also leaves the Eastern Conference wide open. Not only have the Lakers not been to the playoffs since 2013, but the majority of their core is younger than 25 years old. James, as he did with the Cavs during this year's postseason run, could have growing pains, especially considering the quality of opponent he'll face in next year's playoffs. As it stands, the Lakers are a team that went 35-47 last season under coach Luke Walton.
The next question, of course, is whether the Lakers can find a way to add San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard to the mix. The Spurs star is on the trading block after a tumultuous and injury-riddled season in San Antonio, and it is known that he prefers to land with the Lakers. The Philadelphia 76ers, however, have also been in pursuit of the two-time Defensive Player of the Year.
In 2014, James said in his I’m Coming Home essay in Sports Illustrated, “I always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn’t know when,” and he said at the beginning of the 2017-18 season that nothing had happened to change his mind that Cleveland was the place he wanted to finish his career.
Yet, circumstances change, and it was no sure thing James would remain with the Cavaliers.
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