So far, one storyline has dominated the Cavaliers‘ summer: will Collin Sexton return?
But slowly and not-so-quietly, another potential thread has emerged, also speculating about the return of a recent player.
What started in earnest back over All-Star weekend has slowly grown to a crescendo as the summer drags on.
Chalk it up to a lack of other veritable storylines (*ahem* Kevin Durant, anyone?) or one’s attempt to be the retrospective LeBron James truthteller.
Still, those LeBron James rumors haven’t gone anywhere.
And now, a former Cavaliers player is fanning the flames a little more.
On his recent podcast “Road Trippin,” former Cavs Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson speculated about James returning to Cleveland.
And Frye was bullish on a James-Cavaliers reunion:
“I think he’s going to play the point guard and they’re going to go to the Eastern Conference finals and they might lose to a team who’s young, but then he’s going to go out. It’s going to be the greatest last year. If he knows this is last year I think he takes less money to go back to Cleveland.
“Could you imagine LeBron’s last year in Cleveland?…I’m just a kid from Akron. His school, the city. I’ll say this to his face he should go back to Cleveland every single game.”
It sounds like what Frye is angling for a 21st century “Last Dance.”
And while a LeBron return would be quite a sight, don’t get your hopes up.
Two dogs workin' for #NBAHandlesWeek 🐶😂
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) August 14, 2022
Yes, the Cavs project to have roughly $30 million next season in cap space.
But the team will have to figure out extensions (or not) for Isaac Okoro and Caris LeVert by next summer.
On the other hand, Frye didn’t exactly specify when James could return, just that it would be for his last season.
And LeBron has been clear about his desire to play with his son in the NBA, a milestone still a few years away.
Show Me The Money
But by the time LeBron joins the Cavs for a “Last Dance,” the Cavs might already be one of the league’s most competitive teams.
As Cavs insider Chris Fedor noted:
“The Cavs aren’t currently plotting a third go-around. They aren’t idly sitting back, refusing to make help-now moves, just waiting for James to rescue them. This isn’t a misshapen, ill-fitting roster headed for the league’s depths. Cleveland doubled its win total from the 2020-21 season, finishing with a 44-38 mark while advancing to the play-in tournament. Point guard Darius Garland and center Jarrett Allen are All-Stars. Rookie of the Year runner-up Evan Mobley may be one soon. Those are the three foundational pieces at the center of this post-LeBron renaissance, the ones expected to lead the Cavs to the playoffs this coming season.”
This squad is packed with young and still improving talent.
And while Frye seems high on LeBron’s fit as the Cavs’ point guard of the future, there’s just one snag.
Bobby Marks on LeBron:
“Until a LeBron extension is signed in Los Angeles, the Cleveland Cavaliers should be a team to keep an eye on next offseason.” pic.twitter.com/EZ95ccGbYX
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) August 4, 2022
By the time James joins the Cavs, Garland will likely be one of the league’s top floor generals, so long as he continues on his current trajectory.
Good luck getting Cleveland to kick off Garland in favor of an aging LeBron James.