While this is not quite what most people expected when they assumed LeBron would put together a superteam in L.A., the Lakers are at the very least going to be the most interesting team in the National Basketball Association next season.
The Lakers had a large amount of cap space to work with.
The Spurs have been pursuing a package for Leonard that combines future assets and players who can help them stay a playoff team in the present. The fourth year of the contract will come with a player option and marks the longest contract James has signed since signing a deal for six years with the Heat back in 2010.
With a roster that looked incapable of knocking off Golden State, he was widely believed to be headed to L.A., where he owns two homes and has a burgeoning production company, SpringHill Entertainment. The team was projected to have a little under $50 million to hand out.
George Hill ($19 million), Tristan Thompson ($17.5 million), JR Smith ($14.7 million) and Jordan Clarkson ($12.5 million) are all due big money next season, and their trade values aren't in a place where the Cavaliers can extract a significant return. Last season, he averaged 9.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 22.6 minutes per game.
"If he leaves, that's not a good deal for them financially", an Eastern Conference executive told Bleacher Report's Ken Berger prior to James' move. He was a 10-time All-Star, a three-time All-Star MVP, two-time league MVP and, most memorably, the 2016 NBA Finals MVP.
James, meanwhile, paid tribute to Cavs on his Instagram story in which he said: "Thank you Northeast Ohio for an incredible four seasons".
That year, his iconic block on Andre Iguodala was one of the defining moments of the Cavs' Game 7 win over the Warriors. "This will always be home".