Lakers set sights on LeBron James in free agency

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Lakers brass, headed by former NBA champion Magic Johnson, will try to convince NBA superstar LeBron James to sign with Los Angeles now that he has become a free agent. (KABC)

NBA superstar LeBron James decided not to pick up the option on the final year of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, making the 33-year-old a free agent and clearing the way for a team like the Los Angeles Lakers to sign him.

Lakers brass, headed by former NBA champion Magic Johnson, will now try to convince James to sign a contract that could be worth $152 million over four years in Los Angeles.

The four-time MVP passed on a deal with Cleveland that would have paid him $35.6 million during the 2018-19 season. James may still re-sign with the Cavaliers because they can present him with a five-year, $205-million contact, more years and money than any other team can offer.

James can officially begin talking to teams interested in his services at 9:01 p.m. on Saturday night.

Los Angeles billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is a minority owner of the Lakers and new owner of the L.A. Times. He spoke Friday to Andrienne Alpert on the set of Eyewitness Newsmakers shortly after James became a free agent.

"He'd be an amazing addition," Soon-Shiong said. "He's still, I think, one of the most amazing athletes in basketball today."

James owns two houses in Los Angeles and his 13-year-old son is reportedly close to committing to attend Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth.

Soon-Shiong also mentioned the possibility of other All-Stars like Paul George and Kawhi Leonard teaming up with James on the Lakers.

George, a Palmdale native, also became a free agent this week and has been linked to the Lakers. Leonard, who plays for the San Antonio Spurs but is from Los Angeles, reportedly demanded a trade to the Lakers earlier this month.
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