LeBron James and Lakers agree to 4-year deal

02 July, 2018, 05:55 | Author: Isabel Grant
  • Cleveland Cavaliers' Le Bron James walks to the bench during the first half of Game 4 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors in Cleveland. Two people familiar with the decision say Ja

But there are at least three other teams - and maybe an outsider or two - with legitimate shots at landing the three-time MVP, who made it clear following this year's NBA Finals that he's still driven to win championships. James led Cleveland to the NBA Finals, but lost to the Golden State Warriors in four games.

The Philadelphia 76ers, whose young star Ben Simmons has the same agent as James, were also in the hunt with James, hoping to build a potential triple threat alongside the Australian and Cameroon forward Joel Embiid.

The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported some National Basketball Association teams believe James has already decided on the Lakers, but is stretching out the process for added drama.

The Lakers had a large amount of cap space to work with. He returned to the Cavs in 2014 after four seasons in Miami.

James informed the Cavs on Friday that he was not exercising his $35.6 million option and becoming a free agent. Clint Capela and others with six years or less in the league can make a max salary of $25.25 million for the 2018-19 season. Now that he's in Los Angeles, that's impossible. Throw in the chance to stay in the familiar Eastern Conference and play for a storied franchise (James has frequently counted Julius Erving and Allen Iverson among his favorite all-time players), and the Sixers would have appeared to be near the top of the list.

Cousins becomes an even more attractive option given that the San Antonio Spurs are not rushing to trade Kawhi Leonard.

More news: Defending Birmingham Champion Petra Kvitova Back in the Final

As has been the case in the past, James didn't have enough help as the Cavs were swept, dropping him to 3-6 in the NBA Finals - a record sometimes used to compare him to Michael Jordan.

It means James will not have the opportunity to go head-to-head with the Warriors a fifth time in as many years in the Finals, with the Lakers and Golden State only being able to meet as far as the Conference Finals.

James' media ventures that include everything from product endorsements to running his own production company take place in Los Angeles.

By moving West for the first time in his career, James will face a stiffer competition night in, night out, with Steph Curry's Warriors, James' Rockets and a whole lot of stacked teams crowding the playoff race.

George's choice could sway James to sign a short-term deal with Cleveland, but the Lakers are determined to get their hands on the four-time MVP.

WHY NOT: Youth; the Western Conference. He thanked Cavaliers fans in an Instagram post, saying the city will always be his home.

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