Former Lakers star and current Los Angeles Clippers consultant Jerry West recently told Sports Illustrated's Jack McCallum that Magic Johnson and Co. didn't have to do much to get James in purple and gold:
"All due respect to the Lakers, who handled everything well, but as these things go, LeBron was not a tough free-agent signing. LeBron wanted to come to L.A. and he wanted to come to the Lakers. Period.
"He has a family he's thinking about. He has a home here. He has a son whom he wants to keep in one school in Los Angeles. He will be a celebrity out here, sure, but it's a place where, once in a while, he can get lost, be himself. You can't do that everywhere."
Johnson told Spectrum SportsNet (h/t ESPN) that he waited outside of James' house for an hour before their June 30 meeting to make sure he was ready to go. And he didn't bother wasting any time talking about the franchise's storied past.
"He didn't need to hear that," Johnson told Spectrum SportsNet. "He already knew the team, maybe better than I did. He broke the roster down right in front of me. He knew every single guy, the strength and weaknesses on our team."
ESPN's Ramona Shelburne broke down the process even further:
While the Lakers deserve credit for getting the deal done, the four-time NBA MVP's agent, Rich Paul, told Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated that free agency this time around "was just about doing what [James] wants to do." Paul also noted that James' meeting with Johnson wasn't a sales pitch—it was a conversation.
In other words, there's at least some truth to what West said.