NBA: New throne for the King! LeBron James pens 4-year, US$154m Los Angeles Lakers deal

A mural of LeBron James in a Los Angeles Lakers jersey in Venice, California, on July 9, 2018.
A mural of LeBron James in a Los Angeles Lakers jersey in Venice, California, on July 9, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - LeBron James made his seismic move to the Los Angeles Lakers official on Monday (July 9) when the three-time National Basketball Association (NBA) champion posted a photo of himself smiling alongside his freshly-signed four-year, US$154 million (S$208 million) contact.

The news of the contract signing, like the July 1 announcement that the 33-year-old would part ways with the Cleveland Cavaliers, was announced on Twitter by Klutch Sports, the agency that represents James.

The photo showed the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player smiling alongside his agency's founder Rich Paul and Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka.

"This is a great day for the Lakers organisation and Lakers fans all over the world to welcome LeBron James," team president of basketball operations Magic Johnson said in a statement on Monday.

"LeBron James is special. He is the best player in the world. He loves to compete, and is an awesome leader who is about winning and making sure that his team-mates are successful," said the former Lakers great, who was instrumental in landing James.

"The Lakers players are excited to have a team-mate who has been to nine NBA Finals. It's a huge step closer to returning the Lakers to the play-offs and to the NBA Finals."

The signing kicks off the "LAbron" era in Tinseltown as the world's best all-around player begins work restoring the storied Lakers franchise to glory.

The Lakers, who dominated the NBA in the 1980s behind the brilliance of Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and again in the early 2000s with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, have missed the play-offs for the last five seasons.

James will join a promising but unproven core of young players, including 20-year-old Lonzo Ball, 22-year-old Kyle Kuzma and 23-year-Josh Hart.

But Johnson has elected to round out the roster with veterans including point guard Rajon Rondo, small forward and shooting guard Lance Stephenson and two-time NBA champion Javale McGee, all of whom have agreed to one-year contracts.