The 33-year-old, whose teams have represented the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association final for the past eight seasons, has agreed to a four-year, $154-million contract (all figure U.S.) with the storied Lakers franchise.
The Philadelphia 76ers, whose young star Ben Simmons has the same agent as James, were also in the hunt with James, hoping to build a potential triple threat alongside the Australian and Cameroon forward Joel Embiid.
This is the third time in eight years James has changed teams.
Many expected LeBron James would leave the Cavaliers.
LeBron James is leaving Cleveland again, but this time there was no television program to announce the news and crush a title-hungry city's heart. Because they own his "Bird rights" the Cavs can offer James more money than any other team - a five-year, $207 million deal.
James isn't planning any more comments and there won't be a welcoming press conference or celebration in Los Angeles, a person familiar with his plans said Sunday night on the condition of anonymity. The terms were confirmed by a person familiar with the situation who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal can not become official until the league's offseason moratorium ends this week. Clint Capela and others with six years or less in the league can make a max salary of $25.25 million for the 2018-19 season.
He flew to Los Angeles on Saturday, creating a frenzy without saying a word.
Of course, Eastern Conference teams won't have much reason to vote for such a proposal.
And when Sixers officials came away from a Sunday meeting with James's representatives feeling they had little chance to land the prized future hall of famer, it became a lock that the Lakers would be his new home. It also helps that the Lakers are one of the game's premier franchises. At the moment, it seems as though 10 Western Conference teams could be legitimate playoff contenders next season.
If the Lakers do sign Cousins, reports indicate it would be on a short-term deal that would allow the team to assess how well he has recovered from his Achilles injury. The Lakers remain in the hunt to obtain disgruntled San Antonio all-star Kawhi Leonard in a trade and have the financial wherewithal to make a deal work.