The Lakers and Knicks are officially on different paths

LAS VEGAS — LeBron James officially signed his Lakers contract Monday night after coming back from a vacation in Italy, and the storied franchise was finally ready to address the signing.

Knicks coach David Fizdale, who is close to James from their Miami Heat days, blurted “Hallelujah” last week here when asked for his reaction to James leaving the East for at least three years.

The Knicks plot to have maximum cap space in 2019, but James locked himself up without doing the one-and-one deal that Kevin Durant has favored with the Warriors. Fizdale seems unfazed and acknowledged James has helped his career.

“I’m glad he is out of the East,” Fizdale told The Undefeated. “I’m happy for him. Whatever decisions he makes, as long as he and [his wife] Savannah and the family are happy, he deserves everything. But obviously, I’m very grateful for what he’s done for me and the impact that he’s made on my life, so I’m happy for him. He’s with my childhood team. He’s out of the East. This is a win for me.”

The Knicks face the Lakers in summer-league action Tuesday night at UNLV, but Lonzo Ball (knee surgery) and Kyle Kuzma (too good) aren’t on the roster. Former Villanova guard Josh Hart, rookie first-round center Moritz Wagner of Michigan and former Westchester Knicks point guard Xavier-Rathan Mayes are the Lakers’ headliners.

The Lakers announced James’ acquisition Monday night. It is a four-year, $153 million deal with an opt-out before the final season. Lakers GM Rob Pelinka will hold a press conference in Los Angeles that James won’t attend. Joey Buss, part of the Lakers’ family ownership, rang in the signing by tweeting nicknames of past Lakers greats:

“LA has welcomed the arrival of Rabbit, Logo, Stumpy, Big Dipper, Captain, Silk, Magic, Big Game, Diesel, Mamba, Spaniard and now welcomes a King!!”

The Knicks, meanwhile, will introduce Mario Hezonja at a UNLV press conference Tuesday. The No. 5 pick in the 2015 draft has largely been a disappointment, but it’s a one-year experiment before the 2019 splash, when Durant, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson and Kevin Love are scheduled to hit the market.

“Staying with the process of it — not getting overzealous and trying to hit a home run or do something that deep down inside we probably know is not a home run,” Fizdale told the website of the 2019 vision. “With time, people will see that it is a different New York Knicks. The recruitment will take off. We will get the right type of free agents in to go along with these talented kids.”

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