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LeBron James is leaving home for Hollywood and an iconic team.
The Los Angeles Lakers have a new superstar – L.A.-Bron.
The four-time NBA MVP announced Sunday night that he has agreed to a four-year Josh Ferguson Jersey , $154 million contract with the Lakers, joining one of the league’s most storied franchises and switching conferences to try and dethrone the Golden State Warriors and grow his own legacy.
For the second time in his career, James is saying goodbye to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who drafted the teenage sensation from Akron in 2003 and have to be satisfied with winning just one title in the 11 years they had him.
Unlike his two previous forays in free agency, James did not drag out his decision and made the announcement less than 24 hours after NBA free agency opened.
This Summer of LeBron was barely a fling.
His management agency, Klutch Sports Group, announced his agreement with the Lakers with a simple, short release. It was a stark contrast from eight years ago, when a poorly conceived TV special to announce his departure from Cleveland backfired and damaged James’ image.
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. James will make his next public comments on July 30 in Akron when he opens a public school started by his family foundation.
It was all different this time.
The game’s biggest star will now lead a young Lakers team – run by Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson – that has been overmatched in recent years while rebuilding. But the Lakers will instantly rise with James, a three-time champion who after being swept by the Warriors in this year’s NBA Finals said he is still driven and very much in ”championship mode.”
James wasn’t planning to have any face-to-face meetings, but Saturday night he met with Johnson, who sold him on his vision for the Lakers, the person told AP. Earlier in the week Rigoberto Sanchez Jersey , Johnson seemed resigned to the possibility he might not get James or Paul George, who ended up re-signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
But Johnson was confident he could pull something off.
”I’m Magic Johnson,” he said.
The Lakers’ rich legacy is something that has always appealed to James and it wasn’t long after his announcement that he heard from Kobe Bryant, who won five titles during 20 seasons with Los Angeles.
”Welcome to the family (at)KingJames,” Bryant said on Twitter . ”(hash)lakers4life (hash)striveforgreatness.”
James and Bryant were Olympic teammates and there has been a perceived rivalry between the pair of alpha males. They’re now linked like never before and if James wants to prepare for his eventual life after basketball, who better to learn from than Johnson, who has made a fortune as a business entrepreneur, or Bryant, an Academy Award winner.
The massive Los Angeles market will also provide James with a grander platform for his philanthropy and social activism. He already owns two homes in Southern California and has a film production company.
This is the third time in eight years James has changed teams. 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 had previously said he wanted to finish his career in Ohio, and although he’s leaving again, Cavs fans are more forgiving after he ended the city’s 52-year sport title drought in 2016.
Shortly after the announcement, which came in a surprising manner Bill Bates Jersey , James posted a three-photo tribute to Cleveland fans on his Instagram account.
”Thank you Northeast Ohio for an incredible four seasons,” James wrote. ”This will always be home.”
But there will always be a portion of Cleveland fans disappointed that James left again and that he wouldn’t give the Cavs a longer commitment. His deal with the Lakers is his longest since he signed for six years with Miami in 2010.
And unlike eight years ago when he ripped James for leaving, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert thanked him. Gilbert opened his comments by referring to Cleveland’s 2016 title as ”a championship that united generations of Clevelanders, both living and passed.”
”LeBron, you came home and delivered the ultimate goal,” Gilbert said in a statement . ”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 (hash)23 Cavs jersey one day down the line…”
On Friday, James informed the Cavs that he was not exercising his $35.6 million option and becoming a free agent. While in Los Angeles following a family vacation, he spoke to Cavs general manager Koby Altman moments after free agency opened on Sunday, and it appears that was more a courtesy than a chance for Cleveland to make one last pitch.
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.
James gave Cleveland something to remember in his final season. He played in all 82 regular-season games and then somehow carried a team that underwent several transformations to a fourth straight conference title and matchup against the Warriors.
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.
His stay with the Cavaliers will best be remembered for 2016, when he rallied Jonathan Allen knows Daron Payne can play through pain, but is glad his former Alabama teammate doesn’t have to with the Washington Redskins.
Payne injured his left ankle when he was stepped on in practice Mitchell Trubisky Jersey , and coach Jay Gruden said the first-round pick is expected to miss two to three weeks. This is the second consecutive year the Redskins have had a defensive lineman they drafted in the first round from Alabama go down with a foot injury after Allen had his rookie season cut short five games in because of a Lisfranc sprain.
”I feel like it’s going to be tough for him mentally just because he’s still `Bama-nized’ and he still thinks he has to push through everything,” Allen said Saturday. ”But at the same time I’m like, `Payne, we’ve got to get you ready for the opening game, so just take it day-by-day, work your butt off and do what you’ve got to do to get back.”’
Payne shrugged off questions after practice Friday when he got rolled up on but wasn’t on the field 24 hours later and wearing a walking boot. Gruden said Payne would be in the boot for about a week and downplayed the injury’s effect on the 13th overall pick ‘s acclimation process to the NFL.
”He’s in great shape,” Gruden said. ”He’s big, strong, physical. He’ll probably get stronger in his two weeks working out. He’s in great shape, so it’s not a big deal. He’s already very smart, knows the defense, so he’s in great shape.”
It’s still not a great development for the Redskins, who easily could plug in Payne as their starting nose tackle when the season begins. But because he and Payne no longer play at Alabama where players are counted on to gut out injuries, Allen isn’t worried about the missed time stunting Payne’s development.
”He’s definitely going to try to rush it back Giovani Bernard Jersey , try to get out there as quickly as possible, but he’s going to be fine,” Allen said. ”Trust me. I have no doubt in my mind.”
The two-to-three-week timeframe means Payne will likely miss the preseason opener Aug. 9 at the New England Patriots and possibly the second exhibition game Aug. 16 against the New York Jets. Washington still has good depth on the defensive line with Allen, Ziggy Hood, Anthony Lanier, Matt Ioannidis and Phil Taylor, and the injuries to Payne and Stacy McGee (core muscle surgery) open the door for fifth-round pick Tim Settle to show what he can do and earn a spot in the rotation.
”That means there’s more reps,” Settle said. ”I just want to show them that I can ball and I can hang in there with everybody else.”
NOTES: CB Orlando Scandrick was held out of practice because of back spasms. … WR Josh Doctson said there was nothing to an Achilles tendon MRI he had before camp, calling it a ”tuneup.” The 2016 first-round pick has been bothered by Achilles tendon soreness off and on through his first two seasons.
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