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LeBron James signs 4-year deal with the Lakers

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Discard those LeBron in a Sixers uniform photoshops you had in draft.

2018 NBA Finals - Game Four Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

We’ll always have the 8 hours when it looked like Lebron James was going to sign with the Sixers. Despite his agent meeting with Brett Brown, Josh Harris, David Blitzer, and the rest of the Philadelphia pitch team today, James will be signing a 4-year, $154M deal to join the Lakers.

The four years is certainly a surprise, as most people believed that regardless of destination, LeBron would continue following some semblance of the 1-year plus 1-year player option contract structure he has employed in recent years. The long-term commitment would appear to reflect certainty on his mind that Los Angeles is the right place for him and his family.

With this setback in free agency, the Sixers can turn their full attention to trade negotiations with the Spurs for Kawhi Leonard. LeBron spurning Philadelphia could cause them to up the ante in an attempt to secure one elite player this offseason in Kawhi, or it could cause them to pause, with the realization that Leonard might have been more likely to stick around with LeBron in town. Reports are indicating the Sixers may want to lean toward the latter approach.

Two down, one to go in the big offseason sweepstakes. At least the Eastern Conference got a heck of a lot easier today.