LeBron James recently agreed to a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension that will keep him with the Los Angeles Lakers through the 2024-25 season.
For all intents and purposes, there is no scenario where he goes anywhere else for now.
That said, James will forever be linked to the Cleveland Cavaliers. And many expect him to return to the team that drafted him at some point before his NBA career officially ends.
Interestingly enough, it appears the Cavs would be open to James returning under one condition.
That condition: he understand that he has a lot less leverage than he did back in the day.
“I think they’d be open to it on their own terms, under the right terms. Terms that are very different from the ones he came back to in 2014,” NBA insider Chris Fedor said in a conversation with Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.
“When you acquire LeBron, there are a lot of things that go with that. He wants power. He wants to help make decisions over the roster and people that are hired within the organization. He wants to be at the center of everything and have a team built around his strengths and things along those lines.
“The Cavaliers would not sign up for that kind of situation. They feel good about what they have here, especially with the addition of Donovan Mitchell. Back in 2014, they needed a savior and needed LeBron to come back and take them to a different level.”
That position certainly makes a lot of sense. In the period between James’ initial departure from Cleveland his subsequent return, the Cavs were an absolute joke of a franchise. There was zero optimism involving a brighter future.
That is no longer the case. These days, the Cavaliers are one of the most promising young teams in the league. Losing Lauri Markkanen might cause a bigger step back from last season than people realize, but they’ll still be very good in 2022-23.
In that respect, it’s not too shocking that they wouldn’t want to be held hostage by James, who’d be nearly 40 by the time he could actually join them.
The Mitchell acquisition changed a lot of things for Cleveland. His honest reaction to being traded to the Cavs, rather than the New York Knicks, was telling.
It will be interesting to see how the 26-year-old ultimately fares in his new environment, as that will undoubtedly play a massive role in James’ future plans either way.
It’s also worth remembering that James has one priority that matters more to him than returning to Cleveland: playing alongside his eldest son in the NBA.
There is really only one team that can afford him that luxury at the moment – and it ain’t the Cavs.
Klay is having himself a summer. https://t.co/zoqd0bvJ2E
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 6, 2022
One way or another, the next few years promise to be fascinating.
Will James return back to where it all started before he ultimately calls it quits?
Time will tell.
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