By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
LeBron James has confirmed the long-percolating rumors that he'd be moving out west, agreeing to a four-year deal worth $154 million with the Los Angeles Lakers.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported James' deal with L.A. on Sunday. In easily the most understated free-agent reveal James has made in his career, his agency, Klutch Sports Group, quickly made the deal official on Twitter.
It had long been rumored that James would be joining the Lakers as a free agent. But those rumors also came with the idea of James luring Paul George to L.A. George instead decided to re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday, so James and the Lakers will need to go in a different direction to made further upgrades to their roster.
That improvement could come in the form of Kawhi Leonard, who still wants out of San Antonio and particularly for the Spurs to trade him to one of the two Los Angeles teams. But Wojnarowski also tweeted on Sunday that Leonard truly wants to be a Laker.
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. So in light of LeBron's arrival, the question is whether he'd be willing to do what it takes to get Leonard right now, entering the final year of his current contract. Johnson has publicly said that the Lakers' free-agent pursuits will be a "two-summer thing".
As for the Celtics, the Eastern Conference is now theirs to lose with James on his way out. They could make no changes to the current roster and be the clear favorite to represent the East in the 2019 NBA Finals, which would almost certainly be against the Golden State Warriors, if not LeBron's Lakers or the Houston Rockets.
The C's have also been in the running for Leonard, but Danny Ainge won't budge on making too big of a trade. They likely need even more reinforcements to be good enough to beat the Warriors
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].
Click here for all Celtics updates from 98.5 The Sports Hub.