But now, with one year remaining on his contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, there are rumors that he won’t sign an extension to remain with them, and that he’ll leave L.A. after next season.
During NBA All-Star weekend, which took place in Cleveland this year, James teased a possible return to the team he has been most associated with throughout his adult life.
"Door is not closed. I will play my last year with mu Son"
— Christian Imela (@imela_christian) February 20, 2022
Although he is 37, he just had one of the best statistical seasons of his career, and although he may be a little injury-prone at this point of his career, he is still arguably one of the three to five best players in the NBA.
Should the Cavs make a run at James should he become available?
James Would Be A Great Fit In Several Ways
The Cavs’ needs right now, in no particular order, are help and legitimate talent at the wing spot/small forward, 3-point shooting, a legitimate second star or superstar for Darius Garland and veteran leadership.
James checks all those boxes.
In the backcourt, Cleveland is set with the talents of Garland, as well as fellow scoring guard Collin Sexton.
Positionally, James fits in perfectly, as he can play both forward spots.
He is still one of the best passers and floor generals in the league, and he could get Mobley and Allen plenty of easy shots at or near the rim.
In terms of veteran leadership, who in the NBA right now has been in more types of situations, especially come playoff time than James?
A third Cleveland tenure for James likely won’t last long given his age, but it would last long enough to bring the Cavs back into the league’s elite.
James Would Get The Cavs Moving
Another need Cleveland has is creating pace and easy baskets.
It ranked towards the bottom of the league in pace and just 20th in fast-break points, and in the modern NBA, it is very hard to win consistently when a team slows the pace to a crawl and doesn’t create fast breaks or early offense.
Even at his advanced age, James is still one of the game’s deadliest players in the open court, whether he’s looking to score himself or get a teammate an easy look.
— NBA Panel (@NBAPANEL) March 22, 2022
He led the league in fast-break points with 4.8 per game this season, and with all the young players the Cavs have accumulated, he could help them put together one of the better transition attacks in basketball.
James Ending His Career In Cleveland Just Makes Sense
The four-time MVP often refers to himself as a “kid from Akron,” and while Akron may not be considered part of the Cleveland area, it is part of Northeast Ohio, and it was simply fitting when James was drafted by the Cavs back in 2003.
The fact that he returned there in 2014 after his acrimonious exit in 2010 and led the Cavs to their first world championship in 2016 is the stuff that movie scripts are based on.
Even if James doesn’t get Cleveland another NBA title ring upon a potential second return, it seems like ending his career in the region that made him who he is would be the right thing to do.