LeBron James to Lakers: Twitter Explodes as Star Leaves Cavaliers for LA

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 2, 2018

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James walks off the court after hitting the game winning shot to defeat the Toronto Raptors 105-103 in Game 3 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

The Twitterverse went into overdrive Sunday night, as Klutch Sports Group announced that LeBron James agreed to a four-year, $154 million free-agent contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.

James confirmed the long-anticipated move on Instagram:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

The King makes it official. https://t.co/UohofWZhNt

Bleacher Report tweeted a mock-up of what King James might look like when he dons the iconic Purple and Gold Lakers jersey:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

LeBron James has agreed to a 4-year $154M deal with the Lakers, per @KlutchSports https://t.co/a4L893iSfA

L.A. hasn't reached the playoffs since 2012-13, but that will almost certainly change with LeBron now in the picture. Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was happy with LeBron's choice:

Kobe Bryant @kobebryant

Welcome to the family @KingJames #lakers4life #striveforgreatness @JeanieBuss @MagicJohnson and RP well done!!! πŸ™ŒπŸΎ

Lakers guard Lonzo Ball seemingly never had any doubt that theΒ NBA's best player was going to make the leap from Cleveland to Los Angeles:

Lonzo Ball @ZO2_

Y’all really thought he was gonna pass up the greatest city in the world... #TheKingIsHere πŸ‘‘

As Matt Moore of The Action Network pointed out, the Lakers appear to be heading toward another golden age in the franchise's storied history:

Hardwood Paroxysm @HPbasketball

Lakers exceptionalism is back

In agreeing to sign with the Lakers, James left a lot of money on the table.

He was eligible for a super-max contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers that would have paid him $205 million over five years.

Even so, ESPN's Darren Rovell tweeted that James will make more money over the life of his contract with the Lakers than he made during his entire tenure in Cleveland:

Darren Rovell @darrenrovell

$136.6 million: What Dan Gilbert has paid LeBron for his 11 seasons in Cleveland. $154 million: What LeBron will make in his next four seasons with the Lakers.

While the start of the 2018-19 regular season is nearly four months away, the red carpet is seemingly already being rolled out for King James in L.A.

Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma expressed his excitement for LeBron's arrival in GIF form:

kuz @kylekuzma


The Los Angeles Rams got into the act as well by tweeting a photo of James attending a Rams game:

Los Angeles Rams @RamsNFL

We’ve been ready for #LABron πŸ‘€ https://t.co/DdJ7VFbdeN

There is generally little gray area when it comes to the Lakers, as NBA fans tend to either love them or hate them.

The same can be said for James, but Sean Gentille of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is among those ready to jump on the Lakers bandwagon thanks to LeBron's arrival:

Sean Gentille @seangentille

this guy is gonna make me root for the Lakers. what a remarkable human being.

Not everyone is so bullish on the James-Lakers marriage, however.

Musician James McCoy Taylor noted that the Lakers still won't measure up to the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors even with LeBron in the fold:

James McCoy Taylor @james_mccoy_t

LeBron James went from the second best team in the world to the second best team in the state πŸ‘€πŸ˜‚ #lakers #LA #LeBron #LebronJames https://t.co/u2JLbpFBuZ

Also, Dan Katz from Barstool Sports mentioned the possible perils of the relationship between James and Lakers head coach Luke Walton:

Big Cat @BarstoolBigCat

Poor Luke Walton is probably sitting in LA right now thinking he’ll be the one to get Lebron to listen to him

Much of the Lakers' success in 2018-19 will likely hinge on their ability to attract another major free agent or trade for someone like San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard.

One intriguing LeBron-related note that Sean Highkin mentioned was that the expiration of James' contract will coincide with the possible arrival of his son, LeBron James Jr., to the NBA:

Sean Highkin @highkin

An interesting subplot here: A four-year deal will take LeBron through 2022, when his son could potentially be draft-eligible if the NBA eliminates the one-and-done rule by 2021, as has been discussed.

If LeBron desires to play alongside his son before he retires, it stands to reason that the team who lands Bronny in the draft could have a leg up on signing his dad as well.

Regardless of how and when LeBron's tenure in L.A. ends, the union of arguably the greatest player and franchise in NBA history is a storyline that promises to dominate headlines in the coming years.