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LeBron James to sign four-year, $154 million deal with Los Angeles Lakers

The management group representing LeBron James has indicated the NBA star will sign a four-year, $154 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.

>> On DaytonDailyNews.com: LeBron James leaves Cleveland for the second time

Here are the latest updates:

Update 1:34 a.m. EDT July 2: Dan Gilbert, chairman of the Cleveland Cavaliers, released the following statement about the deal early Monday:

"We will always remember the evening of June 19, 2016 as the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, ended the 52-year drought delivering the long elusive championship that many thought they would never see ... A championship that united generations of Clevelanders, both living and passed. 

"Virtually anyone with roots in Northeast Ohio paused and felt the memories of the past and the utter joy that the burden of the so-called ‘curse’ was finally a thing of the past. Cleveland, Ohio was the home of a championship team for the first time since 1964. Words do not express the meaning and the feeling this accomplishment brought to the people of Northeast Ohio. 

"None of this would have happened if LeBron James did not agree to come back home and lead the Cavaliers to the promised land. The entire Cavaliers franchise thanks LeBron for that precious moment and for all of the excitement he delivered as he led our team to four straight NBA Finals appearances. 

"LeBron is a family man, first. We wish his kids, his wife Savannah, his mother Gloria, and LeBron himself nothing but the best in the years and decades ahead. LeBron’s connection to Akron, Cleveland and all of Northeast Ohio will most certainly endure as his commitment to the region and his support of many important causes has been impactful to so many kids and families. 

"LeBron, you came home and delivered the ultimate goal. Nothing but appreciation and gratitude for everything you put into every moment you spent in a Cavaliers uniform. We look forward to the retirement of the famous #23 Cavs jersey one day down the line ..."

>> Read more here

Update 8:25 p.m. EDT July 1: The management group representing LeBron James has indicated the NBA star will sign a four-year, $154 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Update 3:30 p.m. EDT June 30: LeBron James told the Cleveland Cavaliers he would not exercise his $35.6 million contract option next season, making him an unrestricted free agent.

NBA teams can begin negotiations with free agent players on Sunday.

By declining his option, James has positioned himself to choose where he’ll play next. 

Cleveland remains a strong possibility, but the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia Sixers are also strong contenders for the NBA star, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Original story: NBA star LeBron James will reportedly be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

According to the NBA, ESPN and other outlets, James, 33, will decline his $35.6 million contract option for another season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

James has to make a final decision by 11:59 p.m. Friday, sources told the Associated Press.

The three-time champion is set to become one of the most coveted members of the NBA free-agent class.

He appears to be unshaken by the stress, posting a video of himself cliff jumping with his family on Instagram.

Teams can begin negotiation with free agents at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, according to NBA.com.

>> Read more trending news 

James’ decision to decline the option for 2018-19 was anticipated by many, especially after Cleveland’s defeat to the Golden State Warriors in the 2018 NBA Championship game. 

James has said family is a factor in his next choice -- as an Ohio native, there is still a chance he’ll sign with Cleveland. 

Sources tell ESPN that Cleveland can offer James a better deal than any other team, with a five-year contract worth over $200 million. 

Any other team can offer up to a four-year deal worth $152 million.

If James re-signs with Cleveland, he would earn $35.4 million in the 2018-19 season and would jump to $32.2 million in the option year.

He would also have the opportunity to explore free agency again in the summer of 2019.

James is also rumored to be considering the Los Angeles Lakers, ESPN reports.

James has some roots on the West Coast -- he owns a film production company and two homes in the Los Angeles area. 

Golden State Warriors sweep Cleveland Cavaliers 108-85 for NBA championship title

The Golden State Warriors won their second straight NBA title Friday night, 108-85 over the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

>> Read more trending news 

Stephen Curry scored 37 points, Kevin Durant added 20 and a triple-double.

Overcoming obstacles all season long, the Warriors were not going to be denied and won the fourth straight finals matchup against Cleveland with ease.

The Warriors sweep might drive Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James from his home again to chase championships.

>>Read: Would LeBron James leave the Cleveland Cavaliers?

James finished Game 4 with 23 points.

He walked off the court with over 4 minutes left in the fourth quarter and did not stay to shake hands with the other players.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Would LeBron James leave the Cleveland Cavaliers?

Update June 9, 12:30 AM EST: Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James took a seat with about 4 minutes left in the fourth quarter Friday night, indicating he would not finish Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

Golden State won its third NBA title in four years with a 108-85 victory. 

James scored 23 points in a losing effort. The Cleveland crowd could be heard shouting “MVP” in the background as James went to the bench.

Original story: LeBron James has some tough choices to make after the 2018 NBA Finals.

>> Read more trending news 

James, 33, can sign as a free agent after July 1, or opt into a final season of his current Cleveland contract, the New York Times reports.

>>Read: Golden State Warriors sweep Cleveland Cavaliers 108-85 for NBA championship title

The odds that the Akron, Ohio, native will stay with Cleveland are tough.

The Cavaliers trail the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals 3-0, a lead that has never been overcome in the NBA.

During this season’s playoffs, James accounted for nearly a third of his team’s box-score statistics: points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocked shots. 

No player has contributed a higher share of his team’s playoff output.

The Akron native has a strong family base and runs a nonprofit organization called The LeBron James Family Foundation, which helps needy children in his hometown area.

Those ties may be enough to resist the opportunity to switch teams, but James’ numbers show he may be ready to move on.

He has been named the NBA's Most Valuable Player four times (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013) and has been to the NBA All-Star Game every year since 2005.

Nicknamed “King James,” James has been named the NBA Finals MVP three times, in 2012, 2013 and 2016.

He is the youngest player in NBA history to reach 30,000 career points.

As of June 2017 LeBron James’ net worth is $86 million, according to Forbes magazine.

NBA Finals Game 4: Cavaliers vs. Warriors schedule, odds, predictions

The 2018 NBA Finals could be over Friday night if the Golden State Warriors complete their sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 4.

>> Read more trending news 

History books say the series is about finished - an NBA team has never recovered from a 3-0 deficit. 

Here is how to watch Game 4 of the NBA Finals, odds and series schedule:

Who: Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

What: Game 4, NBA Finals

When: Friday, June 8, 2018

Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland

Time: 9 p.m. EST

TV: ABC

Livestream: WatchESPN

Line: Warriors -4.5

Over/under: 216

2018 NBA Finals Game 4 Updated Series Odds

BetOddsG4 SpreadGSW -5G4 MoneylineGSW -185, CLE +160G4 Total215SeriesGSW -20000, CLE +4000

Odds via BetDSI Sportsbook

2018 NBA Finals series schedule:

Game 1 from Oakland: Thursday, May 31, 9 p.m. ET, ABC (Warriors 124, Cavaliers 114)

Game 2 from Oakland: Sunday, June 3, 8 p.m. ET, ABC (Warriors 122, Cavaliers 103)

Game 3 from Cleveland: Wednesday, June 6, 9 p.m. ET, ABC (Warriors 110, Cavaliers 102)

Game 4 from Cleveland: Friday, June 8, 9 p.m. ET, ABC

Game 5* from Oakland: Monday, June 11, 9 p.m. ET, ABC

Game 6* from Cleveland: Thursday, June 14, 9 p.m. ET, ABC

Game 7* from Oakland: Sunday, June 17, 8 p.m. ET, ABC

*if necessary

Georgia Tech investigation dismisses claim basketball coach Josh Pastner sexually assaulted woman

An investigation commissioned by Georgia Tech has found “no credible evidence” to support allegations that its head men’s basketball coach sexually assaulted a fan.

A lawyer hired by Tech issued a lengthy report that the school says exonerated coach Josh Pastner. The coach had been accused by the girlfriend of a former friend of groping and inappropriately touching her numerous times between 2016 and 2017.

>> Read more trending news 

Tech said that Athletic Director Todd Stansbury would be meeting with Pastner to discuss access to the basketball program by outsiders.

Pastner had been coach at the University of Memphis from 2009 before going to Georgia Tech.

Click here for updates.

Photos: Kevin Durant through the years

Photos of basketball player Kevin Durant through the years.

Photos: LeBron James through the years

Photos of Cleveland Cavaliers basketball player LeBron James through the years.

Warriors and Cavaliers face off in 4th NBA Finals: Are fans tired yet?

The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers will face each other for the fourth year in a row at this year’s NBA Finals.

Read: NBA Championship 2018: What time, what channel, what are the odds for Cleveland vs. Golden State?

The Golden State Warriors defeated the Cavaliers with a 129-120 win last season, snagging the NBA championship in one of the greatest post-season runs in the history of the league.

>> Read more trending news 

As the Warriors and Cavaliers gear up for the 2018 NBA Finals, many are wondering if fans will be bored of the matchup.

Those people should rest assured that nothing lasts forever, Golden State’s general manager Bob Myers said at media day before Game 1, according to NBA.com.

“I definitely know this is ending, I don’t need any reminders,” Myers said. “I know a lot of people in the Bay Area think this is going to go on forever. On the record, it won’t.”

Golden State’s Kevin Durant said that even with some fan fatigue it’ll be a great game.

“It may not be as suspenseful as a lot of people want it to be or as drama-filled, but that's what you've got movies and music for,” Durant said during Wednesday’s press conference. “I think this is a great display of basketball on the court from both sides, and if you're a real lover of the game, you can enjoy how both teams play it, even though it may be different.”

Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James had a more pointed message for fans and teams complaining they are not represented in the 2018 NBA Finals.

“Teams have had their opportunities to beat the Cavs over the last four years, and teams have had the opportunities to beat the Warriors over the last four years,” James told reporters. “If you want to see somebody else in the postseason, then you got to beat them. Or in the Finals, in that case.”

The Warriors and Cavaliers are the first teams in any of the four major American sports leagues to play each other in four consecutive championship games or series. 

While some are concerned about fan fatigue, the data shows they keep coming back for more. 

The league’s average attendance for the 2017-18 season was at an all-time high and the most recently completed conference finals were the NBA’s most-watched games in the last six years, according to Nielson data shared with the NBA

NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell released from hospital

Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Russell confirmed on Twitter he was released after an overnight stay in the hospital for dehydration.

>> Read more trending news

According to TMZ, the 84-year-old Boston Celtics great was taken by ambulance from his Seattle-area home to a nearby hospital Friday night. 

Russell tweeted Saturday that he was doing all right, writing that “Yes, I was taken to the hospital last night and as my wife likes to remind me I don’t drink enough.”

Russell also dismissed earlier reports by TMZ about being admitted to the hospital because of heart problems, tweeting “As most of my friends know, I don’t have a heart to give me trouble.”

Russell later posted a tweet that included a photo of him holding a glass of water

The Celtics legend was also hospitalized in 2014 after collapsing at a speaking engagement.

Russell made it home in time Saturday to watch the Celtics lose 116-86 to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics lead the series 2-1.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens told ESPN that he was relieved to hear that Russell was all right.

"Yeah, that was obviously scary news, and happy to hear that he's doing better and he's been released from the hospital,'' Stevens said in Cleveland before Game 3. "He's the ultimate basketball winner. The way he impacted winning, the unselfishness of a teammate, what he stood for off the floor -- everything about him.” 

Russell won 11 titles with the Celtics and was named the NBA’s most valuable player five times. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975.

ESPN, Netflix team up for Michael Jordan documentary ‘The Last Dance’

ESPN Films and Netflix have joined together to create a 10-part documentary series on Michael Jordan.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the series, called “The Last Dance,” will look at Jordan’s rise to NBA stardom during the 1990s. Jordan will fully participate in the documentary, THR reported.

>> Read more trendng news 

According to a Tuesday news release, more than 500 hours of never before seen footage will be used in the series, which will include footage of Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ 1997-1998 championship. The series is directed by Jason Hehir, who has previously worked with ESPN Films on its successful 30 for 30 series “The Fab Five” and “The ‘85 Bears.”

“The Last Dance” will air on Netflix and ESPN in 2019. Watch the trailer below or at ESPN.com

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