LeBron James is joining the Los Angeles Lakers, agreeing to a 4-year, $US154 million contract as a free agent. He wants to build a contender that lasts and believes the Lakers possess the recruiters, the assets and the salary cap space to do it.
In signing James, his longtime nemesis Lance Stephenson and Warriors center JaVale McGee on Sunday, the Lakers bought themselves into contention. Paul informed the Cavs on Friday morning that the four-time MVP would not opt in to the final year of his contract; James was scheduled to make $35.6 million in 2018-19. In Cleveland, it was a series of one-year deals, and even when they won a championship it was only two years.
He most recently took the Cleveland Cavaliers to the National Basketball Association finals against the Golden State Warriors where the Warriors won in a four-game sweep.
All told, James is saying goodbye to the Cavs for the second time in his career. Sunday's announcement came on the opening day of the new league year. According to Real GM's Keith Smith, the Lakers are projected to have $46.82 million in room.
The 32-year Chamberlain, a 10-year National Basketball Association vet, signed a then-record breaking five-year $1.25 million ($250,000 per season) contract. James returned home to Cleveland declaring he wanted to make the Cavs a champion and end Cleveland's sports drought, dating to the 1964 NFL Browns.
And while I wouldn't bet on him beating the Warriors in the playoffs next year, it's hard to imagine him and the Lakers not being in the playoffs - possibly facing the Warriors - come the spring of 2019.
Getting back to annual title contention, which is a given with James, will be hard.
LeBron may win a championship in his third Lakers' season after Kevin Durant's freshly-signed two-year deal with Golden State expires. A team who finished 11th in the Western Conference last season.
The disgruntled star of the Spurs has been adamant about wanting a trade out of San Antonio with the Lakers the only team he's willing to play for.
Gilbert penned a touching letter thanking James for leading the team to a championship and four straight NBA Finals appearances. Currently, the rule serves as a way to force players to either complete one year of college basketball in the USA, or travel overseas to play in an global pro league for one season.
In case you hadn't heard, James has once again left Cleveland.