Unsolicited observations on LeBron James returning to Cleveland talk

LeBron James (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
LeBron James (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The local media is still dreaming up scenarios in which LeBron James returns to the Cavs, and while I get why the story won’t go away, it has absolutely no grounds in reality.

LeBron James is under contract through next season–and the Cavs aren’t going to trade for him. Think about it. What would that deal even look like? Kevin Love? It’s not so simple. If James were a free agent, then it’d be different. He’s under contract with LA through next season.

Plus, trading James would put the Lakers back in the pit of the Western Conference. He’s not going anywhere.

Instead, throughout All-Star weekend, LeBron accomplished what he was always able to do so successfully though the press and social media. All his gushing over Cleveland–Savannah posting images of Akron on her Instagram, all the nonsense–it was a message to the Lakers to go all in for a title next season.

Now, what’s going all in for the Lakers this offseason actually look like? The roster was fixed to win in 2020 with the acquisition of Anthony Davis. It worked. The Lakers won the bubble title. However, the Lakers traded away multiple first round picks in the deal. There’s swap options in 2023 and 2024. LA won’t have a first round pick with no strings attached until 2025.

Now, the roster is aging. Russell Westbrook looks unplayable at times. Sure, teams might be interested in his contract because it expires after next season, but at $47 million? Who exactly is a trade partner going to give away?

That’s life with LeBron. You move heaven and earth to win while he’s there–and credit to LA. They got it done in 2020. That said, I think LeBron’s time in LA will be looked at as disappointing because he’s had just one Finals appearance. Yes, they won it, but this is LA. Multiple titles were and are expected.

It’s ain’t happening this year, pending a miracle, so LeBron’s about to go 1 for 4.

As for LeBron returning to Cleveland, when he’s a free agent. If Bronny James lands on Cleveland’s radar and LeBron agrees to play on a minimum deal–I’ll believe it when I see it–then yeah, sure.

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I have to believe Dan Gilbert is thrilled the Cavs have found success with LeBron–and he won’t let James go scorched earth on the franchise for a third time. Cleveland has two All-Stars. Evan Mobley will be one soon. The new generation is here and really, the conference is as wide open as it’s ever been.