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Could LeBron be on the way back to The Land?

Cleveland Oh. – This may mean nothing, it may mean everything, but there have been some events over the last few weeks that have the wheels spinning. Maybe it makes sense. Maybe it doesn’t. Only time will tell.

Let’s backtrack to Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers. With the series in favor of Boston, 2-1, the Cavs and the fans started hearing rumblings that star guard Donovan Mitchell was dealing with a calf strain and was questionable to play in an important Game 4.

In the coach’s availability before the game, then head coach JB Bickerstaff said before the question could be asked about Mitchell’s availability, “We’ll see.” That came with a mixture of laughs and other things, but it also wasn’t a good sign. Usually, after we talk to coach Bickerstaff, and the opposing teams’ coaches, Donavan Mitchell is out on the court warming up. When I went out to the court, he was not there. At that point, I knew he would not be playing, and I started thinking, “It may be a long night tonight. This just might be the last time we see this team in this building.”

A funny thing happened about five minutes later. There was a buzz from just about all the security guards and media members started talking about there may be a very special guest coming. LeBron James.


Once the news became public, the fans who were just dejected, and very worried, suddenly there was a new energy in the building. Yes, everyone knew he wasn’t going to play for the Cavs, (this isn’t a Disney movie) but just the fact that for a night, 20,000 people would be in a building with arguably the greatest player of all time. There was just a different energy. The game went about as expected. The Celtics were too much for the shorthanded Cavs and even though the Cavs played well, and kept the game close, the Celtics were just too much and won that game 109 -102.

With that as the backdrop, let’s talk about what that potentially could mean. LeBron is one of, if not the savviest athlete when it comes to garnering attention. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s a little overbearing. But LeBron has earned the right to be followed wherever he goes. When he showed up at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse midway in the first quarter, there were instant cheers and screams of “come back LeBron.” He went to his seat with his wife and agent, Rich Paul, and the arena went berserk. At the next timeout, the Cavs showed a video with Lebron, and showed him on the screen, and again, the cheers in the arena were as loud as they would have been had the Cavs won. And in that moment, I started thinking, “hmmm.. is he coming back?”

Fast forward. Klutch CEO and LeBron James’ agent, Rich Paul was on a TNT Alt Game Cast with TNT’s Chris Haynes and said, “…and you know look, LeBron is a free agent….” When Hayes specifically asked him “Are you saying LeBron is going to decline the player option?” Paul then said, “Chris, you know I don’t do my business over the airwaves. I don’t know what he’s going to do. We’re gonna do what we do every year. We’re gonna evaluate the situation and we’re gonna make the best decision.”  Now the context of the conversation was about the Lakers head coaching search. It was not about LeBron’s future with the Lakers. But the fact that a seasoned agent like Rich Paul, who is one of the most powerful agents in the NBA, would make a “slip up” like that, seemed… noteworthy.

Putting it all together, LeBron is savvy. Rich Paul doesn’t make “mistakes.” LeBron shows up to a Cleveland Cavaliers playoff game. Rich Paul was seen sitting and talking to Cavs owner Dan Gilbert following a previous playoff game against the Orlando Magic. It could all be coincidental, but I recall listening to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst talking about the first time LeBron came back as a guest when he was still with the Miami Heat. The Cavs were honoring Zydrunas Ilgauskas by retiring his number and James came into Cleveland to be there for that. Windhorst talked about how that was the beginning of LeBron’s decision to come back and play for the Cavs.

While there was no former Cavs player being honored this time, LeBron is again looking at a situation where he potentially could be a free agent and the Cavs might be an attractive option for him. The Cavs signing LeBron could put them in a different conversation. This Cavs team is closer to winning a championship than the Cavs were when he came back in 2014. This is a playoff team without LeBron. What could it be with him, even as he will be forty next season. “LeBron doesn’t do anything by accident.” Is what I keep telling myself and keep hearing. There are whispers. And as we head to the offseason, a decade after he shocked the world and came back to Cleveland from Miami, could he do it again? We shall see.



  1. Kevin Daniels

    May 27, 2024 at 10:45 am

    Man this has been heavily debated and I can see where this looks like another LeBron comeback. The biggest decision for him would be, leaving LA and coming back across country for basketball when he has so many non-basketball interests in California, and the other would be wherever his son lands! He has to balance between coming home, having an opportunity to win another title late in his career, and moving into the next stage of his life as an actor and producer. He has some decisions to make in a very short period of time! The good thing is that money isn’t an issue so whatever he chooses will truly be from the heart.

  2. Tim Corbett

    May 27, 2024 at 12:41 pm

    Jayson Richardson has done a very good job of delineating a very viable option that LeBron has at his disposal.
    This has been under reported. Most have written this off, but Jayson has a very legit take on this topic.
    LeBron is a drama King – coming back one last time for a two year final championship run in Cleveland would fit perfectly.
    Everyone assumes that LeBron is happy in LA, and has all his business ties there. That is factual.
    But the Cavs with him – someway and somehow – are closer to a championship from the Eastern Conference than the Lakers are in the Western Conference.
    Thank you Jayson Richardson for this column – well done, sir.

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