LeBron James Inks A $154M Deal With The Los Angeles Lakers

Cleveland Cavaliers' Le Bron James shoots against Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green during the first half of Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals in Cleveland. Two people familiar with the decision

By declining his option, James positioned himself to be able to choose where he'll play next and Cleveland, his basketball home for 11 of the past 15 seasons, remains a strong possibility.

In the end, James believed it was the right situation for him. The Lakers might have been trying, but they didn't acquire another star to prove to James that they could build something special in order for him to commit to a four-year, $154 million deal. He delivered in 2016, erasing past sins and raising James to a worshipped level few athletes in any sport have experienced. Others competing for his signature can only offer a four-year contract worth $152 million. After bolting from Cleveland in 2010, he returned in an emotional homecoming four years later, determined to make the Cavs champions.

The 33-year-old carried the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals, but his team was ultimately swept by the Golden State Warriors.

The Lakers missed out on Paul George when free agency started. Gilbert has gone above and beyond financial barriers to appease James, but the well could be running dry.

The Lakers had a large amount of cap space to work with.

The Los Angeles Lakers have a new superstar - L.A. -Bron.

James isn't planning any more comments and there won't be a welcoming press conference or celebration in Los Angeles, a person familiar with his plans said Sunday night on the condition of anonymity. The appeal of playing for one of the league's most storied teams is another allure. The East has two prominent, talented teams in the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers, but the rest of the conference seems to be a level below the West's best teams.

There's little doubt James has some quality years ahead of him.

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The point guard went on to say that his former teammate was "incredible" and checked off every mark statistically this year. It is unlikely that the Cavaliers would've traded Kyrie Irving with James and George together on the Cleveland roster.

All three of those players will have designs on a title next season.

Conversely, the Eastern Conference throne is now wide open. The Sixers also have centre Joel Embiid, 24, projected to become the game's next dominant big men.

Cleveland's roster was exposed during this year's finals, and James may not have seen a way for it to improve enough to win a fourth title.

WHY NOT: Too young; front-office dysfunction.

After experiencing several losing seasons without a chance at the postseason, Lakers fans were full of excitement.

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.

"Boogie's fit with James is intriguing if Cousins returns to form, or near form". If James had opted in with the Cavs, they could have worked out a sign-and-trade with Houston.

But if the Lakers decide they want to part ways with some of their up-and-comers to get another high-profile name - Kawhi Leonard's has been brought up incessantly - it makes more sense for James, who always wants to be in the championship mix.

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