LeBron James agreed to a four-year, $154 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, Klutch Sports Group announced.
James, who declined his player option with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, was also heavily targeted by the Rockets and 76ers before he chose to take his talents to Los Angeles.
The 33-year-old James, who had won the Eastern Conference in eight straight seasons -- four with the Miami Heat and four with the Cavaliers -- will head to the Western Conference for the first time in his 15-year career, as he will have to compete with the Rockets, who boast James Harden and Chris Paul, and the Golden State Warriors, who have won three of the past four NBA championships.
Several former players thought the Knicks would have been the best fit for James. Ray Allen said "the best place for The King is Gotham City," while Hall of Famer Reggie Miller thought New York would have been "a likely destination."
Knicks center Enes Kanter, who exercised his $18.6 million player option on Friday to remain with New York for the 2018-19 season, had been adamant in trying to lure (or goad) James to Madison Square Garden, saying joining the Knicks would be the best way for him to prove he was the real "King of New York."
Following the announcement, Kanter had an appropriate response:
Wow!! Well... NVM 🤣- Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) July 2, 2018
James averaged 27.5 points, 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds in 82 games last season, leading the Cavs to their fourth straight NBA Finals appearance.
When James left Cleveland after the 2009-10 season, he joined Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, where the Heat won two titles in their four seasons together.
He returned to Cleveland in the summer of 2014, promising to bring a championship to his hometown. He followed through in the 2015-16 season, leading the Cavaliers to a 3-1 comeback over the Stephen Curry-led Warriors.
A 14-time All-Star, James has averaged 27.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.2 assists since being the No. 1 draft pick in 2003.