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LeBron James thinks he earned Lakers fans loyalty by signing a 4-year deal

Majority of the Los Angeles Lakers fans and people living in the city of LA are excited and on board with the LeBron James era. They get that he’s right, the Lakers are not yet on the Warriors’ level, but they like the idea of the game’s best player with the Lakers’ young core, and the potential of that with another star player in the next 10 months or so.

Signing a 4-year, $154 million deal at the age of 33 is about as loyal as it gets for LeBron. Coming off multiple deals that featured player options, the deal with the Lakers is the longest for LeBron since he signed a four-year deal with the Heat in Miami.

In Cleveland, LeBron signed two one-year contracts, followed by a 3-year contract with an unexercised player option for the third year. He was often lauded for spearheading a “player-control” campaign in the league, in which he could maintain his mobility and negotiate bigger contracts by signing shorter deals.

As a result of his long-term commitment, James believes he's proved his loyalty to Lakers fans.

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"I signed a four-year deal, what more do you want me to do?" James said in response to a reporter's question about earning the loyalty and respect of the L.A. fanbase (h/t Sports Illustrated's Ben Golliver):

LeBron nailed this. He has signed on and trusted Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka more than he had anyone since Pat Riley. LeBron never signed long-term deals in Cleveland and had trust issues with the Cavs owner Dan Gilbert. He trusts Magic and Jeanie Buss. That is huge for the future of the Lakers franchise.

Now, on the west coast, it looks like LeBron might have found the place where he plans to hang it up when the time comes.

photo by Keith Allison

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