LeBron James Opens Door to Cleveland Return
LeBron James dominated the headlines over the All-Star break, both for his game-winning shot and comments about his future.
LeBron has not shied away from telling the media that he is in the final years of his career— his play would indicate otherwise, as he is third in scoring with 29.1 points per night, but he is 37 years old.
The “King” made his final career plan as clear as he could earlier in the week, saying that he will play his final year with whichever team drafts his son, “Bronny” James. As a result of this and a cryptic “never say never” comment about returning to Cleveland, many are wondering if the Kid from Akron could be back in his palace sooner than later.
LeBron James Headed Home?
The Cleveland Cavaliers have struggled in the modern era when LeBron has not been on their team, but they have finally found some success this season, reaching a 35-23 record that is fourth-best in the Eastern Conference. The Cavs were represented by two players, Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen, in the All-Star Game, and have a nice, veteran bench, with players like Kevin Love and Rajon Rondo heading that unit.
LeBron’s Los Angeles Lakers have not been as fortunate as their chemistry experiment with Russell Westbrook has been a resounding failure thus far with the team dropping to 27-31 and ninth in the Western Conference. Anthony Davis is also hurt again, as he frequently is, and LA’s role players have proven ineffective more times than not.
From purely a basketball perspective, it makes perfect sense why LeBron would want to go to a team that is succeeding now since he will not be there long. However, everyone knows that this decision is much deeper than just basketball.
LeBron was gushing about his home state in his return for the All-Star Game, saying that it was a “dream come true” to hit the game-winner in front of all of his friends and family that came to watch.
The two-time former Cavalier delivered the city’s first professional sports title in over 50 years when he led a 3-1 series comeback against the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals, bringing joy back to a city he grew up just a half-hour outside of. He would obviously be familiar with the area and have no problems returning, especially with friends Love and Rondo on the roster.
There are also rumblings that the “King” is unhappy with the Lakers front office for remaining inactive at the recent trade deadline.
On the other hand, LeBron has transcended basketball and become a full-blown businessman— he was even carrying a satchel with his tequila brand in it during his entrance to the ASG. Given that he currently resides in Los Angeles, the mecca for business development in America, it would be less than ideal to relocate.
LeBron has also always spoken about playing with his son, a sentiment he doubled all the way down on during the All-Star break, which means that he will be relocating in a couple of years regardless of if he returns home to Cleveland.
On a related note, Bronny recently signed a NIL deal with PSD Underwear for a “signature” line of clothing; with his increasing notoriety and the popularity of his father, and both of their basketball talents, there could be an arms race to draft Bronny when his time comes.
So, at the end of the day, LeBron’s future is about as much of a mystery as it could possibly be for a player with his ability, fame, and age— but it is certainly going to be one of the most watched stories in sports.