It's official: LeBron inks 4-year contract with Lakers

Los Angeles can collectively exhale. LeBron James is officially a Laker.

Los Angeles can collectively exhale. LeBron James is officially a Laker.

The club announced on Monday that James put pen to paper on the reported four-year, US$154-million deal, just as James’ representatives, Klutch Sports Group, tweeted an image of James, agent Rich Paul and Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka confirming the news.

“Today is a great day for the Lakers organization and Lakers fans all over the world to welcome LeBron James, a three-time NBA Champion and four-time NBA MVP,” Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson said in a statement.

“LeBron is special. He is the best player in the world. He loves to compete and is an awesome leader who is about winning and making sure that his teammates are successful. The Lakers players are excited to have a teammate who has been to nine NBA Finals. It’s a huge step closer to returning the Lakers to the playoffs and to the NBA Finals.”

James, 33, has averaged 27.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game in 1,143 career contests. He also has been named NBA Finals MVP three times. Last season was his first in which he played in all 82 regular-season games, and the eighth in a row in which his team advanced to the NBA Finals (four in Miami before each of the past four seasons in Cleveland).

The Cavaliers had hoped to re-sign James, and the Philadelphia 76ers also had strong interest him, meeting with James’ representatives before he chose the Lakers.

Joining the Lakers marks the first time James will play for a team in the hotly contested Western Conference, which includes heavyweight teams such as the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets. James spent his first seven seasons with the Cavaliers, his next four seasons with the Heat, and his last four seasons back at home with Cleveland.

The signing kicks off the “LAbron” era in Tinsletown as the world’s best all-round player begins work restoring the storied Lakers franchise to glory.

The Lakers, who dominated in the 1980s behind the brilliance of Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and again in the early 2000s with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, have missed the playoffs the last five seasons.

James will join a promising but unproven core of young players, including 20-year-old Lonzo Ball, 22-year-old Kyle Kuzma and 23-year-Josh Hart.

But Johnson has elected to round out the roster with veterans, including point guard Rajon Rondo, small forward and shooting guard Lance Stephenson and twice NBA champion Javale McGee, all of who have agreed to one-year contracts. The Lakers also agreed to bring back Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Special Reports