Basketball superstar LeBron James has agreed to move to the Los Angeles Lakers from the Cleveland Cavaliers on a four-year deal worth $154million, according to a press release on Sunday evening by his agency, Klutch Sports.
The agency representing the four-time NBA most valuable player (MVP), and three-time NBA champion, made the announcement on Twitter minutes after they communicated their decision to the Lakers, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The announcement came after Magic Johnson met with the 33-year-old at his Brentwood house at 9:01 p.m. on Saturday night for more than two hours. James had earlier arrived in Los Angeles with his family — wife Savannah, sons LeBron Jr. and Bryce, and daughter Zhuri – from Anguilla where they vacationed last week.
James and Johnson reportedly had a wide-ranging discussion that centered on basketball and the Lakers’ future. Johnson was able to establish a connection with James who reportedly made the final decision to join the Lakers on Sunday evening, within 24 hours of his unrestricted free agency.
Klutch Sports made the announcement on Twitter shortly after James’ agent, Rich Paul, called Magic Johnson, the Lakers president of basketball operations. LeBron James is expected to make an official announcement about his decision on Tuesday.
— Klutch Sports Group (@KlutchSports) July 2, 2018
LeBron’s decision to move to Los Angeles was not unexpected. It came after James, widely considered the best basketball player in the world, became an NBA free agent on July 1. He had earlier informed the Cleveland Cavaliers that he would not pick up his $35.6 million contract option with the team for the next season.
The deal with the Lakers, which allows James to opt out after the third year, is the longest deal the basketball superstar, who has played in eight consecutive NBA finals, has signed since his six-year contract with the Miami Heat in 2010, according to ESPN.
It is presently not clear who else might be joining James at the Lakers, but according to some reports, Magic Johnson and his team have also set their sights on the San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard.
LeBron James took to Instagram on Sunday to thank fans for their support during his last four seasons with the Cavaliers. He posted a photo from the team’s 2016 NBA title victory parade, with the overlaying message, “Thank you Northeast Ohio for an incredible 4 seasons. This will always be home.”
LeBron thanks Northeast Ohio on his Instagram story pic.twitter.com/AFlgrp5HXa
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) July 2, 2018
This is not the first time that James has shocked Cleveland Cavaliers fans by leaving the team. He left the Cavs for the Miami Heat in 2010, and won his first NBA title with the Heat in 2012.
He also won his second championship with the Miami Heat in 2013. He opted out of his Miami contract and returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014, and in 2016 he helped the Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors to win the NBA championship. The victory, which saw the Cavs overturn a 3-1 series deficit, was the first major sports championship for the Cavs in 52 years.
James joined the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the NBA league, in 2003, as the team’s first overall draft pick. He quickly established himself as one of the most dominant players in the league, although his three-time NBA champion record is still to match Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant’s five-time NBA champion records.
Several Lakers team members responded to the gladdening news on Sunday.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) July 2, 2018
“Y’all really thought he was gonna pass up the greatest city in the world… #TheKingIsHere,” Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball tweeted with delight.
“Welcome to the family,” Bryant tweeted.
“The show is back,” Josh Hart messaged.