Crazy consequences of LeBron shockwaves
THE most defining move of the 2018-19 NBA season has already occurred.
LeBron James' move to the Los Angeles Lakers and the Western Conference has re-shaped the entire NBA landscape.
The shockwaves of the 33-year-old's stunning four-year deal (with a player option to opt out of the contract after three seasons) worth $AUD208 million are far-reaching and game-changing.
The blockbuster deal means the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player - who has played in the past eight NBA Finals - will now join one of the league's most iconic clubs, adding to the legacy of such legends as Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson.
"LeBron James, four time NBA MVP, three-time NBA finals MVP, 14-time NBA All-Star, and two-time Olympic gold medallist, has agreed to a four-year $154 million contract with he Los Angeles Lakers," James' management company Klutch Sports Group said in a statement.
James, who has a home and production company in Los Angeles, joins a team with plenty of money to spend under the NBA salary cap and a desire to rebuild into a championship team after years of struggles.
The Cavaliers also tried to keep James, reportedly being on the phone with him seconds after midnight Sunday as the free agency period opened.
In the end he chose the Lakers and changed the entire NBA landscape.
Here is what LeBron's massive announcement means for basketball.
SUPERTEAM NO. 3 IS ON THE CARDS
LEBRON James' decision to reject a potential max deal of more than $US200 million over five years with the Cavaliers and sign for less coin with the Lakers leaves the door wide open for the Lakers to add Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard to their roster.
The San Antonio star has reportedly re-affirmed his desire to be traded to the Lakers following James' bombshell announcement.
With Paul George on Sunday agreeing to a new deal with Oklahoma City, the Lakers are able to allocate all their recruitment resources into striking a deal with the Spurs to allow him to join James in purple and gold.
The Lakers are expected to have to cough up top-end draft picks and possibly a combination of top-end picks and rising star players to convince San Antonio to let Leonard leave.
Lakers stars including Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball have been mentioned in reports of being trade bait offered to San Antonio.
Lakers players, however, reacted with just as much shock as the rest of the world.
HERE'S HOW THE NBA REACTED TO THE NEWS
NBA players reacted with complete bewilderment at LeBron James' decision, realising instantly that the move will dominate how free agency and the entire 2018-19 season unfolds.
HOW NBA COMMENTATORS REACTED
NBA TV commentator Kenny Smith has described LeBron James' move to the Lakers as "unprecedented news".
The veteran commentator also declared LeBron won't be moving to the Lakers on his own - saying it appears certain now that at least one fellow NBA star will me moving to Hollywood this off-season.
"LeBron is a calculated mover. I don't think the Lakers' work is done," Smith said on NBA TV.
"There are somethings that either he knows or (Lakers recruitment chief) Magic Johnson knows that are already putting him in this position."
EASTERN CONFERENCE IS WIDE OPEN
LEBRON James' decision leaves the power balance between the Eastern Conference and Western Conference more one-sided than ever.
The already weak east just became a walk in the park for the likes of Philadelphia, Boston and Toronto. Without LeBron in their path, the Raptors (the top seed in the east during the 2018 NBA playoffs) finally has a chance of progressing through to the finals.
It also leaves the stacked Western Conference as a dangerous den of superteams. It appears extremely plausible that the top four teams next season will all come fromn the west.
ARE THE CAVALIERS A DECIMATED WRECK?
CLEVELAND has been left sitting as a lame duck in the Eastern Conference. James' move to the Lakers comes at a time when the team reportedly had little salary cap room to move (before his decision to leave) and isolates Kevin Love as the lone star on the roster.
It will be some time before this team recovers from this hammer blow.
- with AFP