Since he left in 2010, the book has never been closed on the possibility of a return to Cleveland for ‘The King’, LeBron James; especially since the Miami Heat have yet to tie their star down to a new long-term deal. So, will LeBron James ever return to Cleveland?
James is set to become an unrestricted free agent this coming offseason and the four time reigning MVP isn’t giving anything away in respect to his future.
Cavaliers fans have been campaigning for the return of their all-time leading scorer, even raising around $5,000 to put up billboards and custom “come home LeBron” t-shirts; a notion that owner Dan Gilbert didn’t oppose despite the bad blood between himself and James.
Gilbert famously released an open letter insisting that Cleveland would win an NBA championship before LeBron would after he joined the Heat, also bitterly writing that “the King will take the curse down south with him”. It also seems unlikely that James could rekindle his relationship with his former fans after they joined in burning #23 jerseys and swarming their former man with hate messages after ‘the decision’ was aired in June that year.
James says his only mind-set is “winning another championship” which begs the question as to why he would leave Miami, where their roster seems set to do well for years to come; especially with the chance to outdo Michael Jordan and win four NBA titles in a row, one more than Jordan’s ’96-’98 Chicago Bulls team managed.
Cleveland can hardly offer that kind of opportunity, with a supporting cast reminiscent of that which forced LeBron out in the first place. Their years of struggle presented them with plenty of opportunities to improve through the draft; but despite Kyrie Irving, who is even having a down year himself, Cleveland has not drafted well at all; typically summarised by 2013’s number one overall selection, Anthony Bennet, who is on course to become the worst top pick of all time.
However, LeBron does still have strong ties with Akron and Ohio, his hometown, his family and now his new basketball academy which opened Saturday night; the same night that James himself was around 1,000 miles away slicing up the Cavs in South Flordia, the 11th time in 12 games that Miami have beaten Cleveland since the King switched sides.
Opinions seem to be split on whether LeBron should reunite with the team that drafted him in 2003 with many having their say. Charles Barkley said that he “always hoped he would return to Cleveland”, while teammate and fellow potential 2014 free agent, Dwayne Wade has voiced his opinion that the big three should stay together beyond this season.
Cleveland does have the money, and LeBron does have the opportunity. Now it’s down to the man himself.