LeBron James is leaving home for Los Angeles. James announced last night that he has agreed to a 4-year, $154 million contract with the Lakers. His management agency Klutch Sports Group announced the deal with a simple short release.
WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says he has been preparing for James' decision for quite sometime.
Earned the right to leave
"He spent 11 of his 15 years here. I think that's a key point that sometimes people miss," Pluto says. "He has the opportunity to go somewhere else."
This isn't the first time James decided to leave Cleveland.
When he became a free agent in 2010, he went to Miami and led the Heat to two championships -- in 2012 and 2013.
James returned to the Cavs in 2014, leading the team to four consecutive NBA Finals and a championship in 2016.
Now, at 33 years old, it looks like he might finish his career in Los Angeles.
"At the age of 33, he looks like Superman and nothing will ever go wrong, but he is now the 6th-most minutes played in NBA history when you add in playoff minutes, and I think that's part of the reason they positioned themselves with these different contracts... that this will allow him to go for the max."
L.A. market is another factor
Pluto says James' production company, SpringHill Entertainment, is another reason why he picked Los Angeles.
"It wasn't just the basketball; it was the media market, the exposure and everything," Pluto says. "And [Lakers President] Magic Johnson could sit there in front of him and say, 'I built a business empire out of LA, you could do the same and probably much bigger than what I built.'"
Pluto also says James will have his work cut out for him with the Lakers, as he'll have to face Western Conference foe, the Golden State Warriors, sooner in the playoffs than he did in the Eastern Conference.
What's next for the Cavaliers
James has been the center of the Cavs' universe since he returned. Pluto says when James left for the Heat, the Cavs had the worst cumulative record in the NBA.
"The Cavs drafted a younger player Collin Sexton, they'll probably try to figure out what to do next, but they'll probably not be going to the Eastern Conference finals again," Pluto says. "(The Cavs) might not even make it to the playoffs."
Pluto says he's at peace with the decision although he'd much rather have James stay. What comes next for Cavs is something he can't even answer.
"When LeBron leaves, he doesn't just leave a hole," Pluto says. "He leaves a Grand Canyon behind."