LeBron James to join Los Angeles Lakers in $154m deal
03 July, 2018, 20:55
What both Rondo and Stephenson do bring to the table is defensive tenacity, as well as playoff experience, a valuable commodity given the youthfulness of the Lakers and James's annual designs on trips to the NBA Finals. Just a couple minutes later the official National Basketball Association store, operated by Fanatics, a sportswear retailer, was preselling LeBron James blanks (meaning the number was listed as "00", but wouldn't be produced until the official number was confirmed).
Another factor pundits considered behind James' move west was the opportunity to link up with a young roster, including 2017's number-two draft pick Lonzo Ball and Germany's Isaac Bonga, which could ensure he wouldn't have to carry the team like he did in Cleveland.
It was rumoured for the last 12 months that James would make the move to the City of Angels but until free agency officially opened on Sunday, it was largely unclear what he was going to do regarding his future. For the most part they seemed grateful to James for leading the team to their 2016 Championship win.
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 championship team.
"Welcome to the family @KingJames #lakers4life #striveforgreatness", wrote Lakers legend Kobe Bryant on Twitter.
"It's so exciting that you're coming to the city of stars", Schwarzenegger said.
Back in 2010 at the time of James "taking his talents to South Beach" and Gilbert's original letter, many dismissed the idea of the three-time NBA MVP ever returning to Cleveland simply based on its owner's original farewell letter. "This will always be home".
If fans bought a Cavaliers LeBron jersey in the last 90 days, Fanatics has a Jersey Assurance program that enables consumers to exchange, free of charge, a James Cavaliers jersey for either a James Lakers jersey or a new jersey of a player on the Cavaliers.
Next year's expected free agent market would include San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard, former James teammate Kyrie Irving and Golden State guard Klay Thompson.
Before Sunday's announcement regarding James, George had agreed to a multi-year contract with the Thunder and the likelihood of the Lakers landing Leonard in a trade from the Spurs appeared to be dwindling.