In fact, losing James in free agency would drop the team below the league's luxury tax line for the first time in quite a while. James shocked the National Basketball Association world in 2010 when he left the Cavaliers for the Miami Heat, only to return to Cleveland in 2014 after winning two championships.
But George has made a decision to re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder, raising doubts on whether James could head to the Lakers. The Sixers, meanwhile, were able to secure a meeting with LeBron's representatives in Los Angeles this afternoon.
There's little doubt James has some quality years ahead of him.
Now that free agency has started, keep checking back to see where the top players have signed. This is the third time in eight years James has changed teams.More news: Drake's 'Scorpion' Breaks Spotify Opening Day Streaming Record
For the Boston Celtics, James' exit from the Eastern Conference further cements their status as a team with potential to advance to the NBA Finals.
George's choice could sway James to sign a short-term deal with Cleveland, but the Lakers are determined to get their hands on the four-time MVP.
They're likely going to re-sign Rodney Hood, who averaged 16.8 points per game in a featured role with the Utah Jazz last season, with James gone.
While James' previous departures were to ready-made championship contenders, his work will be cut out with a promising but young Lakers team that has missed the playoffs in each of the past five seasons, the longest stretch in franchise history. James once called the 27-year-old Cousins "the best big man in our game". It was not immediately clear if the contract included any option years. He returned to the Cavs in 2014 after four seasons in Miami.
He flew to Los Angeles on Saturday, creating a frenzy without saying a word. In Los Angeles, championships are the standard and he'll feel new pressure in upholding the legacies of Johnson, Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West and other Lakers greats.