ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported Johnson traveled to James' house in Los Angeles before James decided to sign with the Lakers:
Ramona Shelburne @ramonashelburne
This was a very hush-hush operation. Lakers knew they needed to give Bron space to decide and announce it as he wanted. None of us reporters could even confirm they’d been in touch whereas calls with Cavs & Sixers leaked. Says something on the discipline for all involved
Klutch Sports Group confirmed Sunday that James agreed to a four-year, $154 million deal with the Lakers.
The Lakers turned plenty of heads when they named Johnson team president and subsequently hired Rob Pelinka, who rose to prominence as an agent for a number of NBA players, including Kobe Bryant. At the time, it looked like the franchise was leaning too heavily on nostalgia and the Lakers mystique.
However, it's hard to argue with the results.
James is one of the best players in the league, but he still turns 34 in December. Sooner or later, the four-time MVP will fall victim to the aging curve, and that adds a bit of urgency for both him and the Lakers.
The fact that James felt confident in agreeing to sign with the Lakers—on a four-year deal no less—speaks to how highly he regarded the direction in which Johnson and Pelinka are taking the team.
Now that they have James on board, Johnson and Pelinka can be a little more patient in waiting out the Spurs. Trading a few promising young stars will also be more palatable when you know you're building a roster around two of the 10 best players in the NBA in James and Leonard.