LA-Bron! - James leaves Cavaliers for Lakers
LeBron James is leaving home for Hollywood and an iconic team.
The NBA's best player announced last night that he has agreed to a four-year, US$154 million (almost J$20 billion) contract with the Lakers, joining one of the league's most storied franchises and switching conferences to try and dethrone the Golden State Warriors and grow his own legacy.
For the second time in his career, James is saying goodbye to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who drafted the teenage sensation from Akron in 2003 and have to be satisfied with winning just one title in the 11 years they had him.
Unlike his two previous forays in free agency, James did not drag out his decision and made the announcement less than 24 hours after NBA free agency opened.
This Summer of LeBron was barely a fling.
His agency announced his agreement with the Lakers in a release. It was a stark contrast from eight years ago, when a poorly conceived TV special to announce his departure from Cleveland backfired and damaged James' image.
The game's biggest star will now lead a young Lakers team - run by Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson - that has been overmatched in recent years while rebuilding. But the Lakers will instantly rise with James, a three-time champion who after being swept by the Warriors in this year's NBA Finals said he is still driven and very much in "championship mode."
Los Angeles will also provide James with a larger platform for his business interests and social activism. He already owns two homes in Southern California and has a film production company.
This is the third time in eight years James has changed teams. After bolting from Cleveland in 2010, he returned in an emotional homecoming four years later, determined to make the Cavs champions. The 33-year-old had previously said he wanted to finish his career in Ohio, and although he is leaving again, Cavs fans are more forgiving after he ended the city's 52-year sport title drought in 2016.