By Anis Bazza
Last Updated: 3rd July 2018
Four-time NBA MVP winner and arguably the greatest basketball player ever, LeBron James, has signed a 4-year $154m (£116m) deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.
33-year-old James leaves his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, as a free agent for the second time in his career. His lucrative contract places him amongst the highest paid athletes in the world.
His next chapter will be on the West Coast with the LA Lakers – a fabled franchise who he will hope to bring their first championship since 2010.
“This will always be home,” said James on his Instagram account. “Thank you Northeast Ohio for an incredible four seasons.”
LeBron James leaves hometown team Cleveland Cavaliers
The three-time NBA champion, who has played in eight-consecutive NBA finals, became a free agent on the 1st July and his next move was heavily anticipated.
James chose to leave Cleveland for a second time – a team that selected him as the first pick in their 2003 player draft and a city where he established himself as a player.
The double Olympics winner was named the NBA’s most valuable player in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013 and moved to Miami in 2010 where he won his first two championships.
Four years later, he returned to Cleveland and delivered them their first championship in 52 years, coming from a 3-1 series deficit to win the title in 2016. The latest basketball betting odds can be found here.
The team Lebron beat, the Golden State Warriors had just had the best regular season in league history winning 73 of their 82 games.
LeBron James led his unfancied Cleveland side to a further two finals but could not overcome the Warriors – a franchise he has met in the NBA finals the last four years.
James will now contend with the Warriors in the Western conference.
Reaction to LeBron James’ move
“Words do not express the meaning and the feeling this accomplishment brought to the people of Northeast Ohio,” Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert said in a lengthy statement thanking James.
“None of this would have happened if LeBron James did not agree to come back home and lead the Cavaliers to the promised land.”
A number of illustrious LA Lakers legends welcomed James, as did fellow Los Angeles new-comer Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) July 2, 2018
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) July 2, 2018
Anis grew up supporting Manchester City but found joy and solace across Europe’s major football leagues. Increasingly passionate about NBA, he is interested in and has written extensively about different aspects of sport across the years, previously working at Sky Sports News and Sport360 newspaper in Dubai. He studied Journalism at University but spent a large portion of his academic years building City Watch instead - the largest independent Manchester City Twitter account and website.