Thursday, July 19, 2018
CLOSE
 
The Magic Touch: Johnson Lands ‘King’ James in Epic Free Agent Signing 
By Amanda Scurlock, Sports Writer 
Published July 5, 2018

The Los Angeles Lakers signed MVP LeBron James to a four-year $153.3 million deal on Sunday, July 1. The deal came as a surprise to many Laker fans. (AP Photo)

The Los Angeles Lakers signed four-time League MVP LeBron James to a four-year $153.3 million deal on Sunday. The franchise added more veteran talent to their young core by adding NBA champion center Javale McGee with a one-year deal, veteran guard Rajon Rondo to a one-year $9 million deal and guard Lance Stephenson to a one-year $4.5 million deal.  

The agreement came on the first day of free agency, with the 14-time NBA All Star set to sign his new contract on Friday. After being in the NBA for 15 years, this will be the first time James will play for a Western Conference team.   

Lakers legend Kobe Bryant expressed his approval of the trade via Twitter. 

“Welcome to the family @KingJames #lakers4life #striveforgreatness @JeanieBuss @MagicJohnson and RP well done!!!” he stated. 

In this Jan. 15, 2015, file photo, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, right, and Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James hug before the start of an NBA basketball game, in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Lakers have a new superstar — L.A.-Bron. The four-time NBA MVP announced Sunday night, July 1, 2018, that he has agreed to a four-year, $154 million contract with the Lakers. “Welcome to the family (at)KingJames,” Bryant said on Twitter . “(hash)lakers4life (hash)striveforgreatness.” (Paul Rodriguez/The Orange County Register via AP, FIle)

James is arguably one of the best to play the game, reigning over the East with eight consecutive Eastern Conference Finals and NBA Finals appearances. During the past NBA Playoffs, James surpassed center Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s record as most postseason field goals.  

During the 2017-18 season, James averaged 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 9.1 assists per game and shot at 50 percent on the field. However, his strong offensive efforts through the season and the Playoffs was not enough as the Cavaliers lost to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.  

According to analyst Shannon Sharp of Undisputed on FS1, the signing the four-year contract shows how much James trusts Johnson. 

New Orleans Pelicans guard Rajon Rondo shoots in front of Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Tuesday, April 17, 2018, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

“Nobody can swing the pendulum of power like LeBron James,” Sharpe said. “He didn’t go to the Rockets, he didn’t go to Golden State, he went to [the] Lakers, a team that finished 10th or 11th in their conference and now they’re the number two favorite to win the title.” 

James has an impressive resume, aiding the Cavaliers to five NBA Finals appearances and the Miami Heat to four. In the three championships that he won, he was named NBA Finals MVP.  Through his dominance, the Cavaliers stifled the dreams of the Toronto Raptors, defeating them in three consecutive NBA Playoffs.  

Although he was a prominent basketball player, his storybook rags to riches tale took a cryptic twist back in 2010. After seven years playing for the team of his home state of Ohio, James signed a six-year $110.1 million deal with the Miami Heat. This move tarnished James’ on-court image to many basketball fans, labeling him a “ring chaser.” 

He returned to Cleveland after winning back-to-back championships with the Heat in 2012 and 2013. In 2016, he earned a championship for “The Land.” Despite his controversial life on court, he has an exemplary life off court. In 2013, he married his high school sweetheart Savannah Brinson. Their union begot three children. 

Seeing James and Stephenson as teammates will be a stark contrast from their matchups as opponents. Many NBA fans might remember the iconic highlight of Stephenson blowing into James’ ear during the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals. 

At that time, Stephenson was a member of the Indiana Pacers, the team that drafted him in the second round in 2010. During the 2013-14 season, Stephenson averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game.  

A native of Brooklyn, Stephenson played with the Charlotte Hornets, the Memphis Grizzlies and the Clippers.  

Indiana Pacers’ Lance Stephenson (1) drives against the Charlotte Hornets during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, April 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Rondo reached a lot of success early in his career as a member of the Boston Celtics, playing alongside Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. His 10.6 points and 5.1 assists per game would help the Celtics secure a championship over the Lakers in 2008.  

Rondo was named on the NBA All-Defensive First Team in 2010 and 2011. He helped usher the Celtics to five postseason appearances.  

Throughout his career, McGee was known for being a constant highlight of Shaquille O’Neal’s blooper series “Shaqtin’ a Fool.” After stints with the Washington Wizards and Denver Nuggets, he collected two championship rings by working as a reserve on the Golden State Warriors.  

McGee averaged 7.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game during his 10-year career. 

The new additions brought new interest to the franchise with ticket sales, the least expensive ticket for opening night of the 2018-19 season is $550 plus fees.  

This seismic trade should guarantee the Lakers a spot in the 2019 Playoffs, if not the Western Conference Finals.  

Categories: Basketball | History (Sports) | Local | National | News | News (Sports) | Sports
Tags: | | | | | | | |

Get the Los Angeles Sentinel App!


SEARCH:    
Videos



Legends


Photo of the Day
Events

Latest ePaper
Subscribe Now!

LA Sentinel
in your pocket:







LA Watts Times


TOS-Cookbook-Web

© 2018 Los Angeles Sentinel All Rights Reserved • A Bakewell Media Publication

Contact UsAboutMedia KitCorrections & Misprints

Terms of ServicePrivacy Policy

LA Watts TimesTaste of Soul

Close / I'm already on the list

Subscribe Today!

Don't be limited anymore! Subscribe Now »

** Existing subscribers, please Login / Register for Digital »

Subscribe to The Los Angeles Sentinel for only $5.99 $3.99 per month, with 1 month free!

Relax in comfort each week as you read the printed newspaper on your own time, delivered weekly to your home or office. This subscription also includes UNLIMITED DIGITAL ACCESS for all of your devices. Includes FREE shipping! One easy payment of $3.99/month gets you:

Subscribe Now »