LeBron James has signed with the Lakers. He wanted to make the process go through quickly this time, so he agreed to a four-year, $154 million contract early in free agency. His agency group, Klutch Sports, tweeted out James' agreement with Los Angeles via a press statement. And just over a week later, it's official.
The key part of this deal could be that it's a long-term contract. For the past few seasons, James has been signing one-plus-one deals to take advantage of the rising salary cap and maintain leverage. However, he's giving the Lakers a pretty long time to build a winning a team around him and get the most out of his 30s.
This is the second time James has left the Cavaliers and the third time he's changed teams in his career. For some, that is something that should be harmful to his legacy, because stars typically stay with the teams they win championships with. However, James has never done things the normal way. He's always done what he's wanted to do and what he thought was best for himself. In this case that means going to Los Angeles.
It will be interesting to see how this impacts the rest of the Lakers roster. Los Angeles has an interest in trading for Spurs star Kawhi Leonard, and by adding James, the Lakers' focus will immediately shift to winning championships. It's easy to assume that almost all of the Lakers' young players are now available for trade.
This signing is also a huge win for Magic Johnson, Rob Pelinka and Jeanie Buss. That trio took over Los Angeles by forcing out former team president Jim Buss and former general manager Mitch Kupchak because they failed to bring stars to the Lakers. Within a couple of years, the Lakers were able to make themselves appealing enough for James sign with them. That alone has made their takeover a success.
Now it's time to see where the NBA goes from here. James went West. The East is wide open. The Lakers have returned. The NBA will certainly be interesting to look at over the next few months.