After saying that it was going to happen for months, it finally happened. LeBron James has agreed to a four year, $153.3 million deal with the Lakers, according to Klutch Sports Group. Here is the statement they tweeted at 8:05 p.m. Sunday night:
— Klutch Sports Group (@KlutchSports) July 2, 2018
This is absolutely unbelievable. I know that may seem obvious, but this is so insane on so many levels. I’m going to explain it all right now. Let’s get started.
First of all, LeBron James deserves the utmost respect. He already did deserve respect for being a top-two player of all-time and going to eight straight NBA Finals. However, the fact that he had in his mind that he wanted to go to the Lakers, and didn’t care about the fact that they’re in the Western Conference with the Warriors is great.
He’s not choosing a location just because of the conference. The Lakers are where he wants to be. In addition, he’s the first big star to go there (right now, not all-time obviously). He didn’t go with anyone else, but he trusted himself to be able to attract talent and help Magic Johnson continue to build a great team.
Now that we’re on the topic of LeBron James helping build a team, let’s rewind to a crucial moment that happened in February at the NBA Trade Deadline. The Cleveland Cavaliers traded Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and their first round pick to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.
Why is this so significant? Well Jordan Clarkson is set to make $12.5 million during the 2018-2019 NBA season. LeBron James created more cap space for the Lakers when he was still playing with the Cavaliers, while also helping his team right away by acquiring Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. What a GENIUS move by LeBron James. I cannot emphasize how smart that trade was for his present and future.
LeBron making the Cavs trade for Clarkson and Nance to get their contracts out of LA is an all-time chess move
— LeRob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) July 2, 2018
Let’s move onto more developments… As soon as LeBron James signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, they re-signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to a one year, $12 million deal. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is also a Klutch Sports Group client, so he got a contract right away. You have to wonder if Magic Johnson signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope last season just to keep Rich Paul (LeBron and Caldwell-Pope’s agent) close. This would be another genius move.
To add to the drama and excitement, Lance Stephenson just signed a one year, $4.5 million deal with the Lakers. This clocks in as my favorite signing of the NBA offseason. How amazing is this? Lance Stephenson will no longer be a pest to LeBron, but a pest for LeBron. He’ll be harassing the James Hardens, Steph Currys, and Kevin Durant of the world for the Lakers. That is something I cannot wait for.
In addition to Lance Stephenson, the Lakers also just signed everyone’s favorite NBA meme… JAVAAAAALLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEEE MCGEEEEEEEEE! In all seriousness, the contract was a one year deal for the veteran’s minimum, and now LeBron officially has the most crazy team of personalities ever: Lance Stephenson, LaVar Ball, and JaVale McGee. Just take some time and think about that, not only from a basketball standpoint, but from a pure entertainment standpoint.
Furthermore, the young talent on the Lakers is so likable, and I think they’ll be a lot of fun to watch with LeBron James. Of course, it is likely that Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart could all be moved for Kawhi Leonard, but for now they’re still there. I’m positive that at the minimum, Lonzo Ball will be there with LeBron, so it’ll be nice to potentially see Lonzo Ball develop into a star while playing with LeBron James.
If the Lakers aren’t able to get a deal done for Kawhi Leonard, expect another big move to happen. Damian Lillard and Kemba Walker are names to watch here. DeMarcus Cousins is a possible big name left on the free agent market that can potentially sign a short-term deal with the Lakers.
In terms of role players for the Lakers team, I’m hearing that Carmelo Anthony could be on the move to the Lakers if he’s bought out by the Thunder. Chris Bosh is also seeking an NBA comeback, which would take place with the Lakers if he could play.
We’ll closely monitor the Lakers within the next few days, but this is already shaping up to be one of the best NBA offseasons of all-time. I expect the Lakers to be nowhere near done, and I expect other teams to desperately try and get help in a time where another great team has come about. It’s all the LeBron James effect everyone, and that means an exciting time for NBA fans.
Laker legends welcome LeBron to the franchise. pic.twitter.com/2ayUHrblLs
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 2, 2018