NBA Free Agency Recap: LeBron James is now a Laker

The Lakers had a disastrous start to their summer. They lost what was supposedly a sure thing in Paul George when he re-signed a long-term deal with the OKC Thunder. After that, things looked like they were falling apart for the Lakers. The dream trio of Kahwi Leonard, LeBron James and George was fading away.

The Lakers have apparently cooled off from their trade talks with the San Antonio Spurs for Kawhi Leonard.

Then from no reports of any meetings with the Philadelphia 76ers, James’ group suddenly arranged a meeting with them. Even though James wasn’t going to attend, this was still troubling news for the Lakers.

Then, from out of nowhere, this simple tweet suddenly sends shockwaves throughout the entire NBA.

With that, LeBron James is now officially a Laker. His management group was the one to break the news of his new, long-term deal with the Lakers worth $154 million over four years.

There was no fancy TV show ala The Decision. There wasn’t even any Sports Illustrated article. Not even Woj or Shams got the scoop on this one. James decided to announce his new team for the next few years in the simplest way possible.

Despite the simplicity of the announcement, the news marks a seismic change in the landscape of the NBA. The league’s biggest star and arguably their best player is moving to one of the biggest teams of the league.

The Lakers have failed in free agency in the past few years, opting to rebuild through the draft, not by choice, but by necessity. They amassed a young core that showed promise last season. But doubts were beginning to settle on whether the franchise could secure a top free agent like they did in the past. Well, James opting to join the Lakers erases all that doubt.

James also leaves the Eastern Conference to play in a much tougher West block. That means the East is wide open with teams like the Bostons Celtics, Toronto Raptors and Sixers poised to take over the reign from James. The Western Conference suddenly becomes a tougher conference with the arrival of the King. He’ll be going up against the Houston Rockets and Spurs on a regular basis. The champion Golden State Warriors, a team he’s faced in the Finals for four straight years, he’ll have to face four times in the regular season.

The Lakers moved quickly to fill out their roster. James showed he knew how to take care of his boys as fellow Klutch Sports player Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has agreed to terms with the Lakers. He’s planning to sign another one-year deal worth $12 million.

Then things got crazy.

The Lakers then came into an agreement with an old nemesis of James, Lance Stephenson. Stephenson is one of the players that has battled James head on in their previous match-ups. The deal was reported by Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports with details from ESPN’s Chris Haynes.

Adding another goofy character to the mix, LA then agreed to a contract with Javale McGee. He’s signing a one-year minimum to join James in the Lakers. Haynes reported the deal.

James signing with the Lakers just made the NBA full-on crazy. Imagine that. LeBron. Lance. Javale. In one team!

Here are some of the bigger non-Laker free agent signings:

The Orlando Magic have retained restricted free agent Aaron Gordon. He signed a four-year $84 million deal as reported by ESPN’s Marc Spears.

Mario Hezonja took to Twitter to announce his new team, the New York Knicks. He’s looking to finally gain momentum on his young career with a one-year deal worth $6.5 million as reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

With the Phoenix Suns drafting a young point guard in Elie Okobo, Elfrid Payton is moving on to his hometown of New Orleans. He is signing a one-year deal with the Pelicans as reported by Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Toronto Raptors have re-signed restricted free agent, Fred Van Vleet. The Sixth Man of the Year candidate returns to the North on a two-year $18 million deal according to Charania.

After the Dallas Mavericks declined the team option on Dirk Nowitzki, they decide to use the remaining cap space to bring back their legend. Nowitzki is coming back to Dallas for $5 million as reported by Charania.

There are still several big names available on the board including DeMarcus Cousins, Clint Capela, Jabari Parker, Jusuf Nurkic and Julius Randle. There’s a lot of free agency action still left.

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