His agency revealed he was heading for Los Angeles.
Eight years after he famously criticised James for leaving as a free agent in a letter, Gilbert thanked the superstar for coming back to Cleveland and ending the city's half-century championship drought.
It had always been rumored that James would be joining the Lakers as a free agent. Stephenson, however, did still show last season in IN that he is capable of providing a spark on the bench and will likely be a limited contributor in that capacity this coming season.
James, a 14-time All-Star and four-time MVP, spent the first seven years of his career with Cleveland before he signed with the Heat as a free agent prior to 2010-11.
He wrote his name into Cleveland folklore by delivering a first championship to the city in 52 years when the Cavaliers won the National Basketball Association title in 2015-16. But perhaps James took note of how the Warriors built one of the most dominant teams ever and realized his best chance at sustained championship contention down the line is to let the Lakers build more organically.
James led the Cavs to four consecutive Finals after returning in the summer of 2014, but the 2017-18 team had a rocky regular season that included a huge makeover at the trade deadline and was swept by the Golden State Warriors in the championship series.
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Filipe Luis replaced him, and the Atletico Madrid man ensured that Marcelo , for all his qualities, was not missed. Mitrovic's shot had gone behind Alisson and was heading toward goal, but Silva got there in time to clear it away.
James informed the Cavaliers on Friday that he would not exercise his $35.6 million contract option.
That's made it tough for Cleveland to upgrade its roster, but the Cavs remain committed to bringing back James even for just one more year.
Once James committed to the Lakers, Stephenson was a top player on the team's priority list.
Shortly after the announcement, James posted a three-photo tribute to Cleveland fans on his Instagram account.
Now, we must wait and see what Kawhi Leonard's future will be.
And he also snubbed what could have been the most money and longest deal available, the Cavaliers being able to extend James a five-year contract worth $209 million. This is a fun signing for a Lakers team that will be the talk of the National Basketball Association for the rest of the offseason and throughout the regular season.