- James is leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time in his career
- The King will make Los Angeles his new basketball home for foreseeable future
- James spurns the Cavs and the Philadelphia 76ers, who made their own pitches
The NBA's premier free agent is leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time in his career - this time to play for the Los Angeles Lakers.
James will join the Lakers on a four-year contract worth a total of $154million, according to a press release by Klutch Sports Group.
On social media, James, the Akron native, bid farewell to his hometown Cavaliers - the team that drafted him No. 1
'Thank you Northeast Ohio for an incredible 4 seasons,' James said in a message on his Instagram account.
'This will always be home.'
LeBron James has agreed to a four-year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, it was announced on Sunday
On social media, James, the Akron native, bid farewell to his hometown Cavaliers - the team that drafted him No. 1 overall in 2003. 'Thank you Northeast Ohio for an incredible 4 seasons,' James said in a message on his Instagram account. 'This will always be home'
Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was quick to welcome James to Laker Nation on Sunday night
The Lakers were considered one of the favorites to land James this offseason.
The team, which has enough salary-cap space to sign him and another star player, is still said to be in pursuit of Kawhi Leonard.
Leonard, the Spurs star, has asked San Antonio to trade him, preferably to the Lakers.
However, it is unclear if the Lakers have enough assets to entice the Spurs.
Another team that made a pitch to James, the Philadelphia 76ers, got their chance on Sunday to appeal to James to relocate to southeast Pennsylvania.
Representatives from the team met Sunday with James' agent Rich Paul in Los Angeles, a person familiar with the plans told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.
James, who returned to Los Angeles from vacation Saturday before NBA free agency opened, did not take part in the meeting, the person said.
The Sixers offered James a chance to play alongside budding, young stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid as well as stay in the Eastern Conference, where the path to the NBA Finals is far easier than out West.
Philadelphia hasn't hid its desire to land James, a three-time champion who would instantly make the club a championship contender.
James, the 33-year-old, has interests beyond basketball and the massive Los Angeles market would give him a bigger stage and platform. He is seen above driving against Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry during Game 2 of the NBA Finals on June 3 in Oakland
Earlier this season, James was flattered when a Pennsylvania company paid for three billboards in Ohio urging James to come to Philadelphia, where the club has been abiding by a 'Trust The Process' mantra while rebuilding.
The 76ers' contingent was to be led by their ownership group headed by Josh Harris and David Blitzer, a person with knowledge of the details told AP.
The 76ers recently parted ways with general manager Bryan Colangelo and their basketball operations are currently being overseen by coach Brett Brown.
Paul also represents Simmons and James has been complimentary of the Rookie of the Year.
Earlier Sunday, James had contact with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were hoping to hang onto the best player in franchise history.
Shortly after the 12.01 EDTam start to free agency, Cavs general manager Koby Altman spoke on the phone to both James and Paul, the person said.
While there was a feverish flurry of activity involving big-named players in the opening hour of what has been billed as the Summer of LeBron, James did not announce where he'll play next season and it's not known if other moves, such as Paul George staying in Oklahoma City and Chris Paul staying in Houston, have affected his thinking.
The meeting with the 76ers was first reported by ESPN.
James wasn't expected to drag his choice out over several days.
Major Hollywood names like Chrissy Teigen, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Busy Phillips, Alyssa Milano, and Ava DuVernay welcomed James to the neighborhood
He knows what he wants and he's very familiar with the Cavaliers after leading them to four straight NBA Finals since returning as a free agent in 2014 following four seasons in Miami.
Because they own his 'Bird rights' the Cavs can offer James more money than any other team - a five-year, $207 million deal.
But the 33-year-old has interests beyond basketball and the massive Los Angeles market would give him a bigger stage and platform.
The Lakers have a young, talented but inexperienced roster and they were hoping to land both James and possibly George.
But the All-Star forward opted to stick with the Thunder and will sign a four-year deal when teams are permitted to finalize contracts on June 6.
Mario Lopez, Rick Fox, and Karamo Brown also celebrated the news, while Chris Rock joked that James' departure from the Cavs would be great for the Celtics
It was previously thought that George's choice could sway James to sign a short-term deal with Cleveland, but the Lakers were determined to get their hands on the four-time MVP.
And Hollywood couldn't be more excited for its newest star.
A number of big names quickly took to Twitter on Sunday night to welcome Lebron to his new celebrity-studded home.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was so excited he recorded a video to give James a California welcome.
'Lebron welcome to Los Angeles, this is so exciting that you're coming to the City of Stars,' he said.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was so excited by the news he recorded a video to give James a California welcome
'And without any doubt you're going to be the biggest star of all, on the court and off the court.'
'@KingJames welcome to LA! Friday is sunset rosé, laser facials on Monday,' Chrissy Teigen wrote, poking fun at LA stereotypes.
'The rest of the week is running into people you don't like at soho house,' she added.
Snoop Dogg tweeted 'Welcome home' to James while Ice Cube wrote: 'There is a God! Must be Magic! #happydaysarehereagain'
Actress Busy Phillips joked that the news was 'the best birthday present my husband could have possibly gotten' while Alyssa Milano called it the 'greatest news ever'.
A Wrinkle In Time director Ava DuVernay told James 'you're gonna love my hometown, and we're gonna love you back!'
Former Lakers legends like Kobe Bryant and Kareem Abdul-Jabar were quick to welcome James to the family, as were current players Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma
Mario Lopez simply wrote 'YESSSSSS' while actor Rick Fox thanked James for coming to Los Angeles.
'Congratulations to the @Lakers Owners @MagicJohnson and his Front Office and all of LakersNation,' he added.
Plenty of current and former Lakers also got on the James train, with Kobe Bryant writing: 'Welcome to the family'.
'Y’all really thought he was gonna pass up the greatest city in the world... #TheKingIsHere,' added Lonzo Ball.
Former Lakers star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tweeted his prediction that the addition of James would make the team 'just a smidgen away from being real contenders'.
'I am sure the Lakernation is rejoicing,' he added.