It was only a matter of time before LeBron James inevitably departed the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time in his illustrious career. He inched one step closer to that reality by declining his $35.6 million player option for the 2018-19 NBA season.
By doing so, James officially entered a star-studded free agent class that also included the likes of DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George and longtime friend Chris Paul.
With ample salary cap space at their disposal, the Los Angeles Lakers immediately emerged as one of the early favorites to land James. The franchise hoped to lure the 14-time All-Star with the proposal of pairing him with a second star, either by trade or free agency.
Also benefitting the Lakers was James’ natural ties to the Los Angeles area, where he owns multiple homes and raises his family during the offseason.
Now in the opening hours of the free agency period, it appears that the Lakers’ grand plan has come to fruition. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, James reportedly agreed to a contract with the Lakers:
LeBron James has agreed to 4-year, $154M deal with Lakers, Klutch Sports says.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 2, 2018
For the Lakers to receive a commitment from the NBA’s best player in James is a testament to the excellent work by president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka in the front office.
In less than two years at their respective positions, Johnson and Pelinka have worked tirelessly to transform the Lakers into a free agent destination again.
From shrewd trades that freed up valuable salary cap space to excellent drafting that netted one of the best young cores in the league, Los Angeles has planted the seeds for longterm sustainable success going forward.
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