The Cavaliers are set up for the future.
Cleveland has three young, ascendant stars in Jarrett Allen, Darius Garland, and Evan Mobley.
The first two were first-time All-Stars last season and it shouldn’t be long until Mobley joins them for the midseason festivities.
The financial situation is also enviable.
As it stands, the Cavs have just $107 million on the books for 2023-24, per Spotrac.
And while Isaac Okoro will be due an extension next summer and Mobley will be due for one the following year, the team is well situated to make a run at big-name free agents next summer.
Could that mean the return of a familiar face to Cleveland?
Return of the King
Former Cavs beat writer and current ESPN analyst Brian Windhorst recently speculated on LeBron James’ future.
The former Cavaliers star and native son will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.
And only teams with deep pockets will be able to afford to legend.
That list includes the Cavs.
And Windhorst couldn’t help but connect the dots:
“I don’t sense that LeBron wants to leave the Lakers, but I would be remiss to not point out that the Cavs have positioned themselves to have huge salary cap space next summer when Lebron could potentially be a free agent.”
It’s true that the Cavs will have significant space next summer.
But does a move from James make sense?
The volleyball spike block by LeBron James! (2008) pic.twitter.com/8okJNF07v2
— ThrowbackHoops (@ThrowbackHoops) July 28, 2022
Of course, it makes sense for James — it’s a smart basketball move that would undoubtedly put James in contention for more rings.
But what about the Cavs?
It would be a heartwarming story and James would necessarily make the team better.
A team that, Windhorst noted, is one of the better iterations of the Cavaliers that James would join:
“They have this growing young team. In fact, the team that they have right now is more potent than the team that they had that he returned to in 2014.”
As a reminder, that Cavs team was strong, with Kyrie Irving and recent lottery picks Anthony Bennet and Andrew Wiggins.
The latter of which was traded for Kevin Love shortly after the draft.
But the Cavs might be on the hunt for a different type of star: a scoring aficionado to slot in next to the defensively stout Mobley and Garrett.
There are a few marquee names available next summer, in addition to James.
Khris Middleton, James Harden, and Andrew Wiggins all project to be available.
Of those, Harden and Wiggins make the most sense for this Cavs team.
Wiggins is a defensive ace who excelled getting to the cup and improved his shooting last season.
We belong 🔥 pic.twitter.com/44jRVTflie
— Cavaliers Nation (@WeAreCavsNation) July 24, 2022
And Harden, though aging, is still a decent playmaker and shooter.
But both might be difficult to pry away from their current teams, the Warriors and Sixers, respectively.
If the free agent market isn’t the avenue, perhaps the Cavs can pursue a trade.
They’ll certainly have the cap for it.
But until then, expect the James-Cavs return rumors to never disappear.