Blockbuster move: LeBron James signs with the Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James

Gilbert then went on to talk about the importance of family in the life of LeBron James: "LeBron is a family man, first".

In his four years back with his home state team, the 33-year-old Akron, Ohio native led the Cavs to four straight NBA Finals appearances.

The Lakers are expected to keep building a star-powered team to surround James.

Even as an iconic 10-story banner of James is about to be removed from a Cleveland building, the Lakers began filling out the roster for next season, agreeing to one-year deals with swingman Lance Stephenson, guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and center McGee.

The likelihood for Lakers president of basketball ops Magic Johnson is that he can let Leonard come to him as a free agent in the summer of 2019.

With James signing in Los Angeles, that should invite plenty of agonizing debates regarding which player is better: LeBron James or Kobe Bryant.

Cleveland's success also ended the city's 52-year wait for a major sporting title.

James' camp and the Cavaliers' front office have maintained a dialogue since the season ended, sources said.

But money and years of security were less a concern than being able to play for a title contender. He thanked Cavaliers fans in an Instagram post, saying the city will always be his home.

While dethroning the Golden State Warriors will be very hard, the Lakers are heading in the right direction.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the six-time National Basketball Association champion who was part of the Lakers dynasty during the 1980s, hopes that James' arrival will signal a change in fortunes.

Fans in OH, meanwhile, are looking to move forward: James' jersey sales have plunged by 40 percent in the Cavs' team shop at Quicken Loans Arena.

The Lakers may also have sweetened the deal by having room under their salary cap to sign another maximum-salary free agent, rumoured to be the San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard.

But that option vanished after James opted out of his one-year contract extension with the Cavs that would have paid him $35.6 million next season.

Moving to the Lakers will send James to the hotly contested Western Conference - which includes heavyweight teams such as the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets - for the first time as he enters his 16th season.

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