Lakers News: LeBron James Officially Signs 4-Year Contract with LA

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 10, 2018

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James  wipes his face during a news conference following Game 4 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, early Saturday, June 9, 2018, in Cleveland. The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers 108-85 to win the NBA championship. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

LeBron James is officially a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.

After Klutch Sports Group announced on July 1 the four-time MVP was joining the franchise on a four-year contract, it tweeted a picture of James signing the $153 million deal with Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka on Monday:

With the contract part out of the way, James can now focus on leading Los Angeles back to the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-13 campaign, something he figures to do considering he has played in the last eight NBA Finals as a member of the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Lakers released an announcement after the signing, which included celebratory words from president of basketball operations Magic Johnson:

"Today is a great day for the Lakers organization and Lakers fans all over the world to welcome LeBron James, a three-time NBA Champion and four-time NBA MVP. LeBron is special. He is the best player in the world. He loves to compete and is an awesome leader who is about winning and making sure that his teammates are successful. The Lakers players are excited to have a teammate who has been to nine NBA Finals. It's a huge step closer to returning the Lakers to the playoffs and to the NBA Finals."

James already has some of the greatest accolades in NBA history as a three-time champion, three-time NBA Finals MVP, 14-time All-NBA member, six-time All-Defensive team member and 14-time All-Star, but this represents a new challenge for him moving forward.

He will be in the Western Conference for the first time in his career and—at least with the currently constructed Lakers roster—won't have any proven All-Stars the caliber of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Kyrie Irving or Kevin Love to help him topple the best teams in the league.

Instead, Los Angeles features a core of young pieces and a few head-turning veteran additions as it prepares for the 2018-19 campaign.

Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope all feature bright futures as young playmakers but haven't been under the type of spotlight they will see playing alongside James. What's more, additions Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee have all turned in inconsistent production in recent seasons.

While the Lakers likely don't have the current makeup to compete with the likes of the Golden State Warriors atop the Western Conference, any roster with James is a threat to advance deep into the postseason. The Los Angeles roster officially has him after Monday's signing.

     

Reported agreements to sign via NBA.com's free-agent tracker.

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