By Bruce Haring
UPDATED 5:33 PM PST: After all the rumors and the back & forth, basketball superstar LeBron James has decided that he will play for the Los Angeles Lakers. James will have a four-year deal worth $154 million.
Klutch Sports, the agency that represents James, made the announcement via Twitter with a short press release that said, “LeBron James, four time NBA MVP, three time NBA finals MVP, fourteen time NBA All Star, and two time Olympic gold medalist has agreed to a four year, $154 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.”
EARLIER: The dream of LeBron James coming to the Los Angeles Lakers is still in play, but two potential key parts of the proposed dream team that would lure the King appear to have opted out of joining L.A.
As the National Basketball Assn.’s free agent period starts, all eyes are on James, whom many consider the best basketball player ever. As a free agent, he can sign with any NBA team that has salary cap room. Since James has a home in Los Angeles and many business interests here, it was presumed the Lakers were a front-runner for his services, should he decide to leave his Cleveland Cavaliers home.
The concept of James joining the Lakers included teaming with Paul George, a hometown high scoring forward, and perhaps either guard Chris Paul or Kawhi Leonard, another forward who is seeking a trade from the San Antonio Spurs and has his eyes on Los Angeles.
Yesterday put a major dent in all of the scenarios. George reportedly will re-up with his current Oklahoma Thunder home, while Paul re-signed with the Houston Rockets for a maximum deal. The Leonard trade is still possible, but the Spurs have been reluctant to send him to a conference rival and are said to be less-than-enchanted with what they would receive back.
Meanwhile, James continues talking with various teams, including his Cavaliers home.
As expected, Golden State Warriors forward and two-time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant re-signed with the Bay Area team, inking a two-year, $61.5 million deal. Former UCLA hoopster Trevor Ariza also left his Houston Rockets for the Phoenix Suns, signing a one year deal.