Kawhi Leonard determined to join LeBron with Lakers

Cleveland Cavaliers' Le Bron James walks to the bench during the first half of Game 4 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors in Cleveland. Two people familiar with the decision say Ja

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.

If the Sixers are going to give up a haul like that for Leonard, then they obviously need to know they can re-sign him long-term. Because they own his "Bird rights" the Cavs can offer James more money than any other team - a five-year, $207 million deal. While things went dark regarding Space Jam 2 after that announcement, reports started coming out last week indicating that James would release the trailer for the film this summer - specifically, once he announced what team he would play for next.

In his time with the Cavs, James managed to bring a championship to Cleveland.

Before this league-changing news, the San Antonio Spurs could have been asking for the moon in a Leonard trade, arguing that the Lakers were essentially trading for two franchise players. It was a stark contrast from eight years ago, when a poorly conceived TV special to announce his departure from Cleveland backfired and damaged James' image.

As has been the case in the past, James didn't have enough help as the Cavs were swept, dropping him to 3-6 in the NBA Finals - a record sometimes used to compare him to Michael Jordan. While in Los Angeles following a family vacation, he spoke to Cavs general manager Koby Altman moments after free agency opened on Sunday, and it appears that was more a courtesy than a chance for Cleveland to make one last pitch. From there, Los Angeles would have some roster shuffling to do to add a key second piece.

The 33-year-old chose to opt out of the final year of his contract in Cleveland and will join the prestigious purple and yellow to play in the Western Conference for the first time. With his destination unclear, the Lakers would likely gravitate toward a more aggressive move to assemble a team that can take on the Golden State Warriors.

The Philadelphia 76ers, whose young star Ben Simmons has the same agent as James, were also in the hunt with James, hoping to build a potential triple threat alongside the Australian and Cameroon forward Joel Embiid.

LeBron James didn't need a super-team. Regardless, for the time being at least, the young Lakers are excited to have James on board.

He is, however, a talisman for winning, both in Miami and with the Cavaliers, and his presence alone as the most singularly dominant player in the game turns the Lakers into a factor.

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