Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

What they're saying about LeBron James' deal with the Lakers

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Nellie Chapman | 03 July, 2018, 00:28

It's more of a Monday than usual in Cleveland as homegrown superstar LeBron James announced on Sunday night that he's leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Los Angeles Lakers, striking a deal of $153.3 million over four years. The 33-year-old had previously said he wanted to finish his career in OH, and although he's leaving again, Cavs fans are more forgiving after he ended the city's 52-year sport title drought in 2016. They prepared an old-fashioned press release under the letterhead of Paul's agency, Klutch Sports Group, but they weren't sure if or when they'd distribute it. James phoned Paul as he was boarding the private plane.

"Thank you Northeast Ohio for an incredible four seasons", said James on his Instagram account. "IN will always be my home, and the Pacers organization will always be my family". This will be the longest deal LeBron signed since he signed the six-year deal with Miami Heat back in 2010.

But that has more to do with playing on the best team in the league with a crowded frontcourt and a coach who deployed small lineups with Draymond Green at the 5 most of the time.

But for now, the Lakers have secured free agency's most coveted player.

His other two rings came in 2012 and 2013 after he led the Miami Heat to consecutive National Basketball Association titles.

The former second-round pick has been one of the most outspoken Lakers fans in the Raiders locker room, but Khalil Mack has been one of LeBron James' biggest advocates.

James led the Cavs to four consecutive Finals after returning in the summer of 2014, but the 2017-18 team had a rocky regular season that included a huge makeover at the trade deadline and was swept by the Golden State Warriors in the championship series.

James will enter a new phase of his career, his name joining some of the game's greats that have worn a Laker uniform including, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.

The top markets for sales of LeBron's Lakers jersey were Los Angeles, New York, Oakland/San Francisco and Cleveland.

Together with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, James lifted the Cavaliers into the 2015 NBA Finals, where they lost to Golden State.

"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.

League sources told ESPN that the Lakers also added free agents Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and JaVale McGee.

With the simple agreement to sign, LeBron has catapulted the most storied franchise back into relevancy.

After missing the playoffs only twice between 1976 and 2013, the Lakers have not made an appearance in the postseason since, as they looked to slowly rebuild a winning side and LeBron's arrival is expected to kick-start the process.