NBA

LeBron James agrees to four-year deal with Lakers

By Sports Desk July 01, 2018

LeBron James has agreed to a four-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to Klutch Sports Group. 

The 33-year-old superstar announced via his agency he has agreed to a $154million contract with the Lakers.

James will not comment further on his decision to join the Lakers, according to a report from ESPN.

James averaged 27.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game for the Cleveland Cavaliers last season. He upped those numbers to 34 points and 9.1 rebounds during Cleveland's run to the NBA Finals, where they were swept by the Golden State Warriors.

The Lakers are reportedly hoping to acquire another star or two to play alongside James. They are pursuing a potential trade for Kawhi Leonard and have spoken with free agent center DeMarcus Cousins, according to multiple reports.

Los Angeles had been hoping to sign Paul George. But, he agreed to a new contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder when free agency began.

The Lakers finished 2017-18 with a 35-47 record and missed the playoffs for a fifth straight season.

James, a 14-time All-Star and four-time MVP, spent the first seven years of his career with Cleveland before he signed with the Miami Heat as a free agent prior to 2010-11. He played in Miami for four seasons and won two championships before he re-signed with the Cavaliers in July 2014.

Cleveland have advanced to the last four NBA Finals since James returned and they won the title in 2016.

Related items

  • NBA preview 2019-20: Western Conference teams on the rise, fall, Rookie of the Year & predicted finish NBA preview 2019-20: Western Conference teams on the rise, fall, Rookie of the Year & predicted finish

    For the first time in six seasons, there may be a new winner of the Western Conference.

    The Golden State Warriors, winners of the conference in each of the previous five campaigns, have lost Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets and Klay Thompson to injury.

    The Los Angeles Lakers added Anthony Davis but didn't improve nearly as much as the Los Angeles Clippers, a team that was better than them last season and have since added Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

    All we can do is guess who will win the conference this season and it could easily be an under-the-radar team like the Utah Jazz, who added Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic.

    Here's what we think you can expect this season.

    Team on the rise: Dallas Mavericks

    Dallas improved a lot last year with Luka Doncic coming into the fold and now they will have a healthy Kristaps Porzingis. We'll have to see how it works in the long run, but this team appears to clearly be trending upward.

    Team on the slide: Oklahoma City Thunder

    This is obvious. Oklahoma City lost Russell Westbrook and George. A step back is inevitable. But this team has talent with Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Steven Adams, Danilo Gallinari, Dennis Schroder and Hamidou Diallo. We'll see how it works out and if the Thunder trade any of those guys to hasten their rebuild.

    MVP: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

    No Durant and no Thompson. That means a lot more shots for Stephen Curry. The big question is how he will fit with D'Angelo Russell, who is a lot more ball-dominant than Thompson. But if they can work well together, we could see the two-time MVP-level production from Curry again. 

    Rookie of the Year: Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans

    An obvious candidate. Williamson has already won the Rookie of the Year Award if he can get through the season healthy - and there are doubts about that given he will miss the start of the season due to knee surgery. Williamson will be on a team without a ton of talent and on highlights every single night. That's a great recipe to win Rookie of the Year.

    Stat shot: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

    Jokic has averaged 18.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists each of the last two years. Only Westbrook and Oscar Robertson have done that over a three-year span.

    The Nuggets might not have added as much as some of the other teams in the West (see the Houston Rockets, Clippers, Lakers), but one more year of development of Jokic and Jamal Murray, plus a healthy Michael Porter Jr, should keep this team in contention for a playoff spot.

    Three storylines

    1. The Rockets duo: Will Westbrook and James Harden be able to mesh together in an offense? And how will Westbrook's shooting struggles fit with Mike D'Antoni?

    2. Clutch performers: Will Davis and LeBron James dominate the league like we think they can or will the duo once again struggle to stay healthy?

    3. A pair reigns supreme: Is it Harden and Westbrook? James and Davis? Leonard and George? Donovan Mitchell and Conley? Doncic and Porzingis?

    Predicted order of finish

    1. Clippers*
    2. Lakers
    3. Jazz
    4. Rockets
    5. Nuggets
    6. Warriors
    7. Trail Blazers
    8. Spurs
    9. Mavericks
    10. Kings
    11. Pelicans
    12. Timberwolves
    13. Thunder
    14. Grizzlies
    15. Suns

    *NBA Finals representative

  • NBA preview 2019-20: Eastern Conference teams on the rise, fall, Rookie of the Year & predicted finish NBA preview 2019-20: Eastern Conference teams on the rise, fall, Rookie of the Year & predicted finish

    For the second consecutive season, a basketball titan has fled from the Eastern Conference to Los Angeles, and Kawhi Leonard's departure from the Toronto Raptors has opened up the NBA's weaker conference.

    That means a new team could rise to prominence and steal the reigning champions' spotlight.

    Some franchises have had postseason success and are a step away from making an NBA Finals appearance while others are undergoing complete rebuilds.

    All this will make for some exciting team and individual battles in 2019-20, and here's what we think you can expect this season.

    Team on the rise: Philadelphia 76ers

    Philadelphia came agonisingly close to defeating Toronto and advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals last year, and the Sixers made some major moves over the offseason that could help them reach the championship series. They acquired one of the players most adept at guarding Joel Embiid by adding often-underrated Al Horford to their frontcourt rotation in free agency.

    Philly also added a talented wing defender in Josh Richardson, giving them even more size.

    Their starters could very well be the best defensive unit in the league, and Philadelphia added another specialist coming off the bench in 2019 first-rounder Matisse Thybulle, who has averaged 4.9 steals and 2.6 blocks per 36 minutes in five preseason appearances.

    Philadelphia could also have much more offensive upside, despite losing JJ Redick in free agency this summer. One of the team's main problems has been spacing because of Ben Simmons' reluctance to shoot the ball outside the paint, but he's shown more confidence firing from range in preseason play.

    The 76ers have one of the most dominant post players in basketball in Embiid, a freakish point guard with dazzling ball skills in Simmons and room for growth. This could be the 76ers' year.

    Team on the slide: Charlotte Hornets

    Charlotte were respectable last season and finished ninth in the standings — just two games back from the eighth-seeded Detroit Pistons. But losing their lone All-Star Kemba Walker will do obvious damage. It is unclear what the Hornets can do to turn things around, as there are quite a few questions they need to answer.

    Terry Rozier will have big shoes to fill as he steps into Charlotte's starting point guard spot. Replacing an All-NBA talent is no simple task, and Rozier will have a lot to prove as the first offensive option on a team for the first time in his pro career.

    Then there's the young core. The Hornets used a first-round pick on PJ Washington in the 2019 NBA Draft, but could also start Miles Bridges at that position. Marvin Williams logged 75 starts last year while Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and a deteriorating Nicolas Batum also split time there. The jury is out on Dwayne Bacon, Malik Monk, and Devonte Graham, and every decent team in the Eastern Conference will have more consistent rotational pieces.

    It's unlikely Charlotte will be able to move Batum's and Bismack Biyombo's undesirable contracts, so there's not much flexibility to acquire assets for the future. The Hornets have basically no shot at landing a big-name free agent, so they'll need to be bad enough to get some top-tier draft picks to avoid remaining a middling franchise just outside of the playoff picture.

    MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

    Reigning MVP Antetokounmpo led his team to the best record (60-22) in basketball last year and essentially has his supporting pieces returning for 2019-20 — save for Malcolm Brogdon.

    Each year, Antetokounmpo adds to his bag of tricks, and a step up from the 27.7 points and 12.5 rebounds on 57.8 per cent shooting certainly would be something.

    Whether it's shooting, playmaking or handling the ball that he improves, it'll make him more dangerous. He'll continue to be a nightmare for opposing teams and will have plenty of eyes watching his development entering year seven.

    Rookie of the Year: Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies

    Few rookies will handle the ball as much as Morant will this season, and that's reason enough to believe he has a good shot at competing for Rookie of the Year.

    Morant will be Memphis' floor general and basically be handed the keys to the offense. He's done a great job so far, tallying 7.3 assists per contest in preseason while averaging only 21.9 minutes. Morant will get more playing time in the regular season and will benefit from playing alongside the athletic Brandon Clarke and Jaren Jackson. 

    Stat shot: Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks

    Robinson was an enigma protecting the rim from the post and the perimeter last season with his natural shot-blocking ability, and it'll be interesting to track how he follows up his rookie season with the Knicks.

    He totalled 161 blocks in just 66 games and averaged 2.4 per contest. His average was the second-best mark in the NBA — behind Myles Turner — while his total of 161 was just 34 shy of what the Cleveland Cavaliers' entire team recorded last season. He's projected to be New York's starting center and could very well notch more blocks than an entire NBA franchise if he remains healthy. Imagine that.

    Three storylines

    1. Kyrie Irving's trial run: Irving is helping kick off the new era of Brooklyn Nets basketball, but he'll have to do it without injured co-star Kevin Durant. Can Irving thrive in a leadership role on yet another young team?

    2. The Kawhi-less Raptors: Many are counting out the Raptors now that they've lost 2019 NBA Finals MVP Leonard to the Clippers. How will they respond to sceptics as the defending champs?

    3. Markelle Fultz's development: The 76ers traded Fultz, but the Orlando Magic are confident he can still become a valuable contributor on an NBA team. Will he put together a complete season?

    Prediction

    1. 76ers*
    2. Bucks
    3. Raptors
    4. Celtics
    5. Heat 
    6. Nets
    7. Pacers
    8. Magic
    9. Pistons
    10. Hawks
    11. Bulls
    12. Wizards
    13. Hornets
    14. Cavaliers
    15. Knicks

    *NBA Finals representative

  • Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson out for up to eight weeks following knee surgery Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson out for up to eight weeks following knee surgery

    Zion Williamson is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks after undergoing knee surgery on Monday, the New Orleans Pelicans have announced. 

    New Orleans said the top overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft had an arthroscopic procedure to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee. 

    Williamson missed last Friday's preseason finale against the New York Knicks due to "right knee soreness".

    Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told reporters the team believes Williamson hurt his knee earlier this month against the San Antonio Spurs.

    Williamson averaged 23.3 points in four preseason games.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.