It does not take a professional basketball analyst to figure out that LeBron James is one of the greatest active players in the NBA today. Going into the pros out of high school, he became Rookie of the Year on his first team, the Cleveland Cavalier, where he played from 2003 to 2010, when he became a free agent and signed up with the Miami Heat. There he would win two consecutive NBA titles in 2012-2013, before returning to the Cavs in 2014, in 2016 giving Cleveland its first pro-sports title after 54 years. But now he is moving on.
ESPN reports that LeBron James has decided on a four-year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers to the tune of $153.3 million, about a day after he announced his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers before completing the final year of his contract with them. This makes it the second time he has departed from the Cavs to become an unrestricted free agent, as reported by Klutch Sports Group which represents him. According to the terms of his Cleveland contract, the last of the stipulated four years was a player option, meaning LeBron had a valid choice not to complete.
As for the man himself, LeBron bade his second farewell in social media to the city whose NBA team he has led to greatness two years ago. Posting a photo on Instagram, of the Cavs victory parade in Cleveland following the 2016 NBA Finals, he wrote in caption, “Thank you Northeast Ohio for an incredible 4 seasons. This will always be home.” He certainly made his memory indelible to his now twice-over former home team; when he took the Cavs to the championship in that fateful finals, he proved that it was possible for an NBA Finals team to bounce back from a 3-1 deficit to triumph at Game 7.
For his third and last year with the Cavs in Season 2017-18, LeBron got to play in all 82 team games, the first time he was not absent all season in his 15 NBA years. His post-season game performance was nothing to sneeze at either. Still, his switching to a new team this time around was a bit more positive in the public perception compared to his Cavs-Heat transition. Already, former LA Lakers legends like Kobe Bryant and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have welcomed him on Twitter.
Aside from LeBron James, the Lakers have also been interested in acquiring Kahwi Leonard, following rumors that he is not enthusiastic with continuing to play for the San Antonio Spurs and expressed a desire to come over to Los Angeles.
Image courtesy of Keith Allison on Flickr