James will be playing for the Los Angeles Lakers on a four-year, $153.3 million contract. He will try to bring the storied franchise another championship. The announcement was made through his agency, Klutch Sports Group, which announced the deal as $154 million.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that the fourth year is a player option. It is the longest deal James has signed since inking a six-year contract with the Miami Heat in 2010. His previous three deals were three years or shorter.
James leaves his hometown team as a free agent for the second time in his career. Four years ago, James had stated his intention to finish his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Whether the four-time MVP and 14-time All-Star does that or not, he certainly has left his mark on his city.
James, 33, thanked his home area in an Instagram story. He wrote in text overlaying a photo from the Cavaliers’ 2016 NBA title victory parade, “Thank you Northeast Ohio for an incredible 4 seasons. This will always be home.”
He delivered the first championship to the sports-obsessed city in 52 years and did so with storybook gusto, helping the Cavaliers become the first team in NBA Finals history to rally from a 3-1 series deficit to win it all. The team he took down, the Golden State Warriors, had the best regular-season record in league history, at 73-9.
“Words do not express the meaning and the feeling this accomplishment brought to the people of Northeast Ohio,” Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert said in a lengthy statement thanking James. “None of this would have happened if LeBron James did not agree to come back home and lead the Cavaliers to the promised land.
“LeBron is a family man, first. We wish his kids, his wife, Savannah, his mother, Gloria, and LeBron himself nothing but the best in the years and decades ahead. LeBron’s connection to Akron, Cleveland and all of Northeast Ohio will most certainly endure as his commitment to the region and his support of many important causes has been impactful to so many kids and families.
“LeBron, you came home and delivered the ultimate goal. Nothing but appreciation and gratitude for everything you put into every moment you spent in a Cavaliers uniform. We look forward to the retirement of the famous #23 Cavs jersey one day down the line …”James leaves the Cavaliers franchise as its leader in nearly every major statistical category: games played, points, rebounds, assists and steals.
If 2017-18 was his final act in Cleveland, what a show he put on — playing in all 82 games for the first time in his 15-year career and capping it off with a postseason performance as dominant as any playoff run James has ever been part of.
James becomes the first player in NBA history to lead a postseason in scoring and switch teams the following offseason. He joins the illustrious list of NBA legends to play for the Lakers, some of whom have already welcomed James to the family.