For months, the entire NBA world has been waiting for the final decision from LeBron James in free agency. The best player in the universe fell short of knocking off the Golden State Warriors in the 2018 NBA Finals but, by all accounts, it was not the individual play of James that cost the Cleveland Cavaliers a second title over a three-year period. Still, the possibility of a departure from Ohio loomed over everything and, in the end, James elected to pull the trigger on a move to join the Los Angeles Lakers.
The news of James’ decision came via a release from Klutch Sports, which announced that he will head to Los Angeles on a four-year deal worth $154 million.
According to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, this deal gives James the flexibility to opt out prior to its fourth year.
James’ choice does not come as an overwhelming surprise, as betting markets (and public sentiment) seemed to place the Lakers in the driver’s seat in recent days. Beyond that, LeBron’s choice to decline his player player option certainly did not damage the notion that Los Angeles was the leader in the clubhouse, even with the possibility that a return to Cleveland was in the mix until the very end.
The future will be very interesting for James, as he ventures to the Western Conference (for the first time in his career) while the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets operate at an obscenely high level. In the same breath, James has been a walking ticket to the NBA Finals for the last several years and, in short, any team the employs the game’s best player is in a fantastic position to compete, regardless of the final roster placed around him.
LeBron James brought a title to Cleveland after winning two in Miami. Now, he takes up yet another challenge and, this time, it will occur in the nation’s second-largest market and in the same conference as the two-time reigning NBA champions.