Skip to content

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

Mar 9, 2014, 12:30 PM EST

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. Damian Lillard drops career high 43, leads Blazers to 3OT win over Spurs (VIDEO)

    Dec 20, 2014, 2:07 AM EST

    Damian Lillard AP

    Lillard needs to get mentioned with the game’s top point guards.

  2. Former No. 2 overall pick Darko Milicic loses first kickboxing fight (VIDEO)

    Dec 20, 2014, 12:02 AM EST

    Former NBA player now trying to make his way as a fighter.

  3. Danny Ainge says uncertainty about Celtics’ ability to re-sign Rajon Rondo prompted trade to Dallas

    Dec 19, 2014, 10:50 PM EST

    Danny Ainge AP

    There are a whole host of reasons Rondo was traded; this is just the most convenient for Boston’s brass.

  4. Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard has torn ligament in right hand, return unclear

    Dec 19, 2014, 7:25 PM EST

    Kawhi Leonard AP

    Leonard was the Finals MVP for San Antonio last season.

  5. Kevin Durant to sit out vs. Lakers with ankle sprain

    Dec 19, 2014, 6:35 PM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

    This is the smart move by the Thunder.

  6. Kendrick Perkins: Rajon Rondo wanted out of Boston

    Dec 19, 2014, 5:59 PM EST

    Orlando Magic v Boston Celtics, Game 6 Getty Images

    It’s kind of moot now, but it’s not a surprise.

  7. Kobe Bryant says he’s not recruiting Kevin Durant to Lakers. Yet?

    Dec 19, 2014, 5:15 PM EST

    Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant AP

    Lakers star: ‘If the opportunity came up, then that’s the time to have that discussion’

  8. Raptors unveil new logo, get ribbed by Nets’ official Twitter account about it

    Dec 19, 2014, 4:29 PM EST

    Nets v Raptors Eastern Conference Quarter Finals Game 7 Getty Images

    Black-and-white version of Toronto’s new logo looks similar to Brooklyn’s

  9. Report: Minnesota agrees to trade Corey Brewer to Houston

    Dec 19, 2014, 2:56 PM EST

    Minnesota Timberwolves v Brooklyn Nets Getty Images

    This gives the Rockets a little more depth on the wing with Harden and Ariza.

  10. Kevin Durant (ankle injury) game-time decision vs. Lakers

    Dec 19, 2014, 2:15 PM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

    Thunder star sprained ankle against Warriors

  11. Report: Mavericks targeting Jermaine O’Neal to replace Brandan Wright

    Dec 19, 2014, 1:04 PM EST

    Golden State Warriors v Dallas Mavericks Getty Images

    Sending Wright to the Celtics leaves major hole at backup center

  12. Report: Mavericks “confident” they can re-sign Rajon Rondo

    Dec 19, 2014, 12:28 PM EST

    rondomavs

    Mark Cuban is too smart to pull the trigger on this kind of deal unless he has word he can keep his man.

  13. Report: Hornets pull Lance Stephenson off trade block

    Dec 19, 2014, 11:51 AM EST

    Charlotte Hornets v Miami Heat Getty Images

    Heat and Nets among teams that showed interest

  14. Mark Cuban finalized Rajon Rondo trade while on set for The Colbert Report finale

    Dec 19, 2014, 11:15 AM EST

    Mavericks owner, one of many celebrities singing off Stephen Colbert, had his priorities in line

Featured video

Jabari Parker injury latest for disappointing rookie class
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Martin (6751)
  2. C. Bosh (6507)
  3. D. Favors (6442)
  4. A. Bogut (6142)
  5. D. Cousins (6071)
  1. J. Noah (6048)
  2. T. Jones (6036)
  3. T. Parker (6000)
  4. M. Smart (5923)
  5. A. Davis (5753)