Skip to content

Report: Cavaliers privately believe it’s not too late to lure LeBron back to Cleveland

Mar 9, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

lebron cleveland z AP

LeBron James attended the jersey retirement ceremony of Zydrunas Ilgauskas on Saturday, a move that would have been viewed as unusual by NBA standards even before considering the history that exists between the star player and the team where he began his NBA career.

James played his first seven seasons in Cleveland, before infamously spurning the organization with an ill-conceived, nationally-televised spectacle that caused Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert to pen a letter full of vitriol aimed at his former franchise player.

The relationship seemed to be irreparably damaged, but time has taken the sting out of the way the separation went down. And while the Cavs have underachieved this season and fired their general manager along the way, people inside the organization believe they still have a shot in tempting James to return to Cleveland as a free agent.

From Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal:

Yes, the Cavs underachieved this season. Yes, Grant tried feverishly for the past two years, but could never find that second star to pair with Kyrie Irving and ultimately serve as the bait to lure James back to the Cavs.

But the Cavs privately believe it’s not too late. They still have the assets to pull off a mammoth trade this summer at the draft, the type Grant tried so hard to make. Kevin Love will be entering the final year of his contract, as will LaMarcus Aldridge. Grant tried for two years to unsuccessfully pry both stars out of their current cities, but each had too many years left on their contracts for their current teams to consider it. That’s no longer true.

If either the Minnesota Timberwolves or Portland Trail Blazers come to the conclusion they can’t re-sign their stars, this summer is the time to move them and the Cavs will be at the front of the line, stocked with young players and future draft picks.

The Timberwolves have Kevin Love under contract for next season, and are not going to trade him before it’s absolutely necessary under any circumstances. If a trade does happen, it won’t be until the following summer, and will only take place if Love insists on playing elsewhere as a free agent — at that point, the team may consider sign-and-trade options.

In Portland, it would seem even less likely that LaMarcus Aldridge would become available, for some of the same reasons. Except that the Blazers are actually decent, sitting at 22 games over .500 in the deep Western Conference while being essentially assured of a playoff spot this season.

Neither of the stars mentioned are likely to become available this summer, when James can opt out of the final year of his deal in Miami to become a free agent. And even if the Cavaliers made a ridiculous offer of young players and multiple first round picks to try to secure an All-Star to pair with Kyrie Irving, it’s far from guaranteed that any of that would entice James to leave the Heat.

Cleveland’s best course of action is to throw those assets at a team in exchange for a star player who still has at least two years remaining on his contract. The game’s top free agents aren’t going to choose to play for the Cavaliers willingly, but if they’re brought in via trade and the team can build a playoff contender around them, they may find it harder to leave when the opportunity comes.

If you believe James still has a soft spot for his home town and may indeed want to return one day, perhaps in the final season or two of his career, that’s not crazy to envision. But going back in his prime to play alongside talent that doesn’t come close to guaranteeing a title? That line of thinking is delusional, at best.

Latest Posts
  1. LeBron’s 30-point performance leads Cavaliers to hard-fought Game 2 win over Celtics

    Apr 21, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Two Getty Images

    LeBron had 30, Kyrie Irving added 26 to give Cleveland the 2-0 lead in the series.

  2. Chandler Parsons out for Game 2, maybe rest of Rockets series

    Apr 21, 2015, 9:41 PM EDT

    Devin Harris, Chandler Parsons, Trevor Ariza AP

    Devin Harris also out Game 2 for Mavericks

  3. Nikola Mirotic could miss Game 3 against Bucks

    Apr 21, 2015, 8:00 PM EDT

    Milwaukee Bucks v Chicago Bulls - Game Two Milwaukee Bucks v Chicago Bulls - Game Two

    Bulls forward strained knee in scuffle with Zaza Pachulia

  4. PBT Extra matchups to watch: Spurs look for ways to contain Chris Paul

    Apr 21, 2015, 7:15 PM EDT

    Expect to see a lot more Kawhi Leonard (and Danny Green) on Paul from the start.

  5. Report: Suns’ Morris twins charged with aggravated assault

    Apr 21, 2015, 4:51 PM EDT

    Phoenix Suns Media Day Getty Images

    The twins were allegedly part of a group that beat up a man outside a rec league basketball tournament.

  6. Hawks’ Al Horford says he will play in Game 2 despite finger injury

    Apr 21, 2015, 4:14 PM EDT

    Al Horford AP

    Horford is going to have work to do on the defensive end slowing down Brook Lopez.

  7. Brilliant spoof: Zach Randolph’s deep thoughts on cats, shirts, more

    Apr 21, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    Zach Randolph AP

    Well done, Zach Randolph and the Memphis Grizzlies.

  8. Nets list Mirza Teletovic as ‘probable’ for Game 2 vs. Hawks

    Apr 21, 2015, 2:43 PM EDT

    Brooklyn Nets v Sacramento Kings Getty Images

    Teletovic was originally ruled out for the season on Jan. 23.

  9. Report: Spurs might get a free agent meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge

    Apr 21, 2015, 11:50 AM EDT

    Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers Getty Images

    Another report has Aldridge at no better than 50-50 to re-sign with the Blazers.

  10. Raptors’ Lou Williams: ‘Staying in Toronto would be ideal for me’

    Apr 21, 2015, 11:10 AM EDT

    Toronto Raptors v Charlotte Hornets Getty Images

    Williams will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Featured video

Mavericks need to contain Dwight Howard in Game 2
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. C. Parsons (5257)
  2. D. Rose (5076)
  3. P. George (4685)
  4. K. Durant (4611)
  5. T. Splitter (4481)
  1. D. Lee (4449)
  2. M. Conley (4227)
  3. K. Bryant (4110)
  4. L. James (3941)
  5. S. Curry (3821)