Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert sends message of thanks to LeBron James

LeBron James

LeBron James joins Los Angeles in 4-year, $154 million contract today, leaves Cleveland Cavaliers

By leaving the NBA's much weaker East, LeBron has entered a Western Conference loaded with talent, making it much harder for him to keep his finals streak alive.

After a season in which he dealt with a sad-sack Cavs roster summed up by soup-throwing J.R. Smith forgetting the score in Game 1 of the Finals, James is going to spend his first season in Los Angeles playing with the even more mercurial Lance Stephenson and perma-flake JaVale McGee.

The game's best all-around player and biggest star will now lead a young Lakers team that has been overmatched in recent years while rebuilding but will instantly rise with James. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope agreed to a one-year, $12 million deal with Los Angeles, according to our own Shams Charania.

In the end, James believed it was the right situation for him.

The Cavaliers had hoped to re-sign James, who has appeared in eight consecutive NBA Finals.

James chose to become a free agent after his second stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers in which he made good on his promise to bring a championship title to what is essentially his home town, having grown up in Akron, Ohio.

The likes of Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler are all expected to hit the open market and the California-based outfit wants to be big players next year too. Clint Capela and others with six years or less in the league can make a max salary of $25.25 million for the 2018-19 season.

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In global football, that's just nearly a desperate call to see a loose team with no understanding of what we're trying to do. As it stands, we seem to be at one with the team.

They'll need to do that, as in the short-term a championship contender is not in place.

He wrote his name into Cleveland folklore by delivering a first championship to the city in 52 years when the Cavaliers won the National Basketball Association title in 2015-16.

The four-time league MVP picked his next destination less than 24 hours after free agency began early Sunday morning.

The Lakers will be Stephenson's seventh National Basketball Association team.

After years of Stephenson trying to troll James, James was nearly in on the joke by the time the series finished, even giving a reporters a play on words of Stephenson's nickname 'Born Ready.' .

The question becomes how patient James is (he is signing a four-year, $154 million deal) and how willing the Lakers might be to waste a year on the backend of James' prime. The Lakers, as they stand today without Leonard, are a good team. He thanked Cavaliers fans in an Instagram post, saying the city will always be his home.

James leaves the Cavaliers as the team's leader in games played, points, rebounds, assists and steals.

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