Basketball: LeBron James signs deal to play with LA Lakers

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When the free agency period begins on Sunday morning, LeBron James or any of his representatives will not have an in-person meeting with Cleveland Cavaliers officials, according to a report by ESPN's Dave McMenamin.

James reportedly agreed to a four-year, $154 million deal with the team.

And Bryant took to Twitter to express his delight over the trade.

The massive Los Angeles market will also provide James with a grander platform for his philanthropy and social activism.

But even behind them there are teams with legitimate conference title aspirations, especially the Toronto Raptors, who have been eliminated from the playoffs by James and the Cavaliers for three straight seasons. It would be the second time in their careers that the two linked up in free agency.

James led the Cavaliers to the first National Basketball Association title in franchise history in 2016, when the team rallied from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Warriors in seven games.

Lance Stephenson is changing uniforms once again. James, had he made a decision to stay, could have inked a five-year, $207 million deal with the Cavs.

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This automatically disqualifies them from going with the potential James-George combination. LeBron James is apparently hesitant to go to L.A. without another star being there.

James, a two-time Olympic champion, left Cleveland before in 2010 for the Miami Heat, where he reached the NBA Finals four times, going 2-2, before departing for the Cavaliers, vowing to bring a title to Cleveland, his home region having grown up in nearby Akron.

The Lakers have a young, talented but inexperienced roster and they were hoping to land both James and possibly George. At 33 years old, James produced a sensational 2017-18 campaign in which he averaged 27.5 points, 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds on 54.2 percent shooting from the field, including 36.7 percent from three, in a league-high 36.9 minutes per game.

The signing also means James will have to interact with the Ball family at some point in the next four years.

His stay with the Cavaliers will best be remembered for 2016, when he rallied the Cavs from a 3-1 deficit in the finals to stun the Warriors. And while he has always been compared to Michael Jordan, Johnson is the one whose game more closely resembles his own.

James's departure from Cleveland and the Eastern Conference is at least as significant as his move to the West. The appeal of playing for one of the league's most storied teams is another allure.

It's now his turn.

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