"The Lakers had felt a sense of urgency this week to find a co-star (for) LeBron", either the Oklahoma City Thunder's Paul George or the San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard, ESPN's Ramona Shelburne said in a tweet on Sunday. StubHub saw Cavaliers ticket demand increase every single year after James returned from the Miami Heat in 2014-15, and the exchange's average purchase price for Cavs tickets went up 80 percent from the previous year during LeBron's first season back.
Winners of 65 games in 2017-2018, the Lakers' and Warriors' personnel moves are bad news for the Rockets, who have dipped to +800 after opening the summer sitting second to Golden State with +525 odds.
Preorders for new Lakers LeBron James jerseys were robust enough on Sunday night to give retailer Fanatics one of its top 10 sales days in terms of National Basketball Association gear sold, a spokesman for the company told ESPN.
James signed with the Lakers just hours after opting out of the final year of his contract with the Cavaliers. Which means they now have five players from last year's NBA All-Star Game on the same team that won last year's championship, and the one.
According to The LA Times' Brad Turner, Johnson showed up at James' house at 12:01 ET/9:01 PT on July 1, the minute free agency began, to recruit James to the Lakers. The Lakers, so far, have dropped James onto a roster that still has, for now, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart.
James, who has a home and production company in Los Angeles, now joins a club with money to spend and a desire to rebuild into a championship team.
Another reason for James's willingness to sign a long-term deal with the Lakers is the team's proximity to Hollywood.
Waiving and stretching Deng then would get the Lakers to about $37 million in projected space, more than enough to make a max offer to players with seven to nine years of experience.