The Decision 3.0 has been made and LeBron James is taking his talents to the Los Angeles Lakers. James has agreed to a four-year, $154 million deal with the team Sunday, according to Klutch Sports.
The 33-year-old James is coming off a season in which he averaged 27.5 points per game with the Cleveland Cavaliers. James led Cleveland to the NBA Finals, but lost to the Golden State Warriors in four games.
Why did LeBron James sign with the Los Angeles Lakers?
The Lakers had a large amount of cap space to work with. The team was projected to have a little under $50 million to hand out. That put them in the running to sign not just James, but potentially another top free agent.
The team can pair James — and whoever else might be coming — with Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma.
In the end, James believed it was the right situation for him. It also helps that the Lakers are one of the game’s premier franchises.
How much money will LeBron James make with the Lakers?
James’ four-year, $154 million contract will net him over $35 million each season, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN.
Here is the breakdown for the LeBron James contract with the Los Angeles Lakers: $35.65M, $37.43M, $39.21M and $41M. He is not eligible for a no trade clause. https://t.co/mA0GyBP4xc
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 2, 2018
James will make $35.65 million next season. That number will slowly rise over the course of the contract. In his final season with the club, James will make $41 million. He is also not eligible for a no-trade clause.
Can the Lakers beat the Golden State Warriors?
Many have already wondered what the NBA Finals might look like without James taking on the Warriors every year. Now that he’s in Los Angeles, that’s impossible. The best the two teams can do is meet in the Western Conference Finals.
Given how deep the Warriors are, James is going to have a tough task going through them to get to the Finals again. But the Lakers still have some cap space after signing James, and could still add more talent.
The team didn’t wait long to announce their next move. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope agreed to a one-year, $12 million deal with Los Angeles, according to our own Shams Charania.
LeBron James vs. Kobe Bryant
With James signing in Los Angeles, that should invite plenty of agonizing debates regarding which player is better: LeBron James or Kobe Bryant.
We won’t get into that here, but we assume a number of Lakers fans are already deleting some of their old tweets trashing James.
Bryant isn’t willing to get into that right now. His initial reaction to the move was extremely positive.
Kobe Bryant will have a lot to say about LeBron in due time. For now, he says in all caps, “I LOVE IT.”
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 2, 2018
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) July 2, 2018
LeBron James and Lavar Ball
The signing also means James will have to interact with the Ball family at some point in the next four years. He’ll have to play with Lonzo Ball — assuming he doesn’t get dealt — which means he’ll have to deal with Lavar Ball as well.
That should lead to some interesting tweets.
LeBron James is leaving Cleveland
Many expected LeBron James would leave the Cavaliers. He thanked Cavaliers fans in an Instagram post, saying the city will always be his home.
LeBron left a thank you message for Cavs fans on his IG story.
📸: kingjames | Instagram pic.twitter.com/qPQL7lBReN
— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) July 2, 2018
In his time with the Cavs, James managed to bring a championship to Cleveland. Fans reacted angrily the first time he left the team in free agency. There might be far fewer burned jerseys this time around.
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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik
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