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LeBron Signs $154M Deal to Leave Cleveland

The legend is now a Laker
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2018 12:16 AM CDT
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.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
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(Newser) – Cavs fans were right to be worried: LeBron James is taking his formidable talent to Los Angeles, where he has signed a four-year, $154 million deal with the Lakers. James, who played in Cleveland from 2003 to 2010 and returned in 2014 after a stint with the Miami Heat, thanked fans in an Instagram story with a picture of the team's 2016 title parade, ESPN reports "Thank you Northeast Ohio for an incredible 4 seasons," he wrote. "This will always be home." Rumors had linked James—who turns 34 in December and is widely considered the best basketball player in the world—to teams including the Lakers, the Boston Celtics, the Houston Rockets, and the Philadelphia 76ers in recent weeks, People reports.

The move was announced in a tweet Sunday from James' agency, the Klutch Sports Group, which hailed him as a "four time NBA MVP, three time NBA finals MVP, fourteen time NBA All Star, and two time Olympic gold medalist." James, who became a free agent after turning down his $35 million option with the Cavs last week, made his decision after a visit to his LA mansion Saturday night from Lakers legend Magic Johnson, who is now the team's president of basketball operations, sources tell the Los Angeles Times. The sources say the men bonded over their shared experiences and talked for more than two hours. "Welcome to the family," tweeted former Laker Kobe Bryant after the move was announced. (Last time James left Cleveland, the announcement was one of the most-watched cable shows of the year.)

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