This marks the second time that James has made a decision to leave the Cavaliers.
The Cavs are now faced with a roster that has more than $102 million in guaranteed contracts, and little chance to contend. One of the bigger characters in the NBA, Stephenson has carved out a niche for himself as a great perimeter defender, energy player, and secondary playmaker for the Indiana Pacers.
James, 33, is the best basketball player in the world, and is coming off an outstanding season, his best since 2013-2014 according to PER (Player Efficiency Rating), and his best since 2012-2013 according to VORP (Value Over Replacement Player). Capela is a restricted free agent, which means the Rockets can match any offer the Lakers or another team make. There will be far less fanfare surrounding James' joining of the Lakers than there was when he joined the Heat.
James informed the Cavaliers on Friday that he would not exercise his $35.6 million contract option.
Trades for other stars will be on the table for the Lakers, but it's unclear what other moves they could make in free agency right now. Vegas also has the Lakers as the favorites.
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.
Hours after the announcement, the Cavaliers issued a statement from chairman Dan Gilbert, thanking James for leading the team to the National Basketball Association championship in 2016, calling it a title that "united generations of Clevelanders, both living and passed".
As things stand now, Smith's projections have the Lakers with $59.96 million of cap space for 2019.
The game's biggest star will now lead a young Lakers team - run by Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson - that has been overmatched in recent years while rebuilding.
"On Sunday afternoon, James and his wife went back to Van Nuys Airport". Even as his franchise faces an uncertain future, this action by the owner will go a long way in helping Cavaliers fans cherish the past and honor the man who delivered on his promise to bring a championship home to Northeast Ohio.