LeBron James

LeBron James rumored to be considering Cavs return in 2023

8 hours ago

Rumors have begun to swirl around LeBron James' future in Los Angeles, particularly one that hints at him eyeing a return to Cleveland, as the Lakers struggle to get anywhere close to repeating their 2020 NBA championship title.

Could the 18-time NBA All-Star really don a Cavaliers jersey for the third time? It's certainly a possibility. 

In fact, Lakers fans should keep a close watch on Cleveland's offseason moves, as the team could be trying to make space for a run at James next year, according to ESPN.

On Monday's "First Things First," Chris Broussard weighed in on rumors that James might be considering a return to his hometown and shared if he thinks the potential team change is a good idea or not.

"I wouldn't crush LeBron if he decided to go back to Cleveland," Broussard said. "After all, it is his hometown. … But I say no for a few reasons. One, it won't be the same. It really won't. The team will be very good because they have a lot of nice, young players, but I'm telling you. When LeBron went back the second time, even though [Cleveland] won a championship, it wasn't the same."

LeBron rumored to be considering a return to Cavaliers | FIRST THINGS FIRST

Chris Broussard and Nick Wright decide if there's any chance LeBron would play with the Cavaliers once again, and how they would feel if the star NBA player brought another championship to Cleveland.

"Being in that arena, it was like the innocence was lost. It was like the hometown kid came back, yeah, and he gave us a championship, but there was a feeling in that arena that we understand now: It's business," Broussard continued. "His first stint there, it was all love, the hometown hero — 'He's gonna lead us to the championship, he's gonna make us a dynasty.' That was gone when he went back the second time. It still was great, and they won a ring, but if he goes back a third time, it'll be even less intensity.

"And I think erroneously, some fans in Cleveland will also be like, ‘We kinda wanna see these young kids develop. We don’t want it to become all LeBron all the time, all about him anymore.' I think some people will feel that way. I disagree. … It's about winning championships, so I would want LeBron back."

"Secondly is this, Anthony Davis is 29 years old. I know this year [the Lakers] don't have much flexibility, but after next season, Anthony Davis is the only money left on the books. … They got cap room galore. It might make sense for LeBron just to wait, see what they can add with players. But they're gonna have room after next season to add better players to he and Anthony Davis, so that's why I think he should stay in L.A. and not go back to Cleveland."

James — the No. 1 overall pick by Cleveland in the 2003 NBA Draft — spent 11 seasons with the Cavaliers (2003-10, 2014-18), leading them to the postseason in nine of those seasons. He also guided Cleveland to five NBA Finals appearances over that same time, including four straight during his second stint that ended with one championship title in 2016. 

Before James joined the Cavs in 2003, they hadn't made it to the playoffs since the late 1990s. They didn't see another postseason after James left in 2010 until he returned in 2014, and they haven't seen one since he left the second time in 2018.

On the other side, Broussard's cohost Kevin Wildes is rooting for a James-Cavs reunion and breaks down why these rumors are a good indicator about how the four-time NBA champion feels about the Lakers right now.

"Out of all LeBron's championships, I feel like that one (with Cleveland) means the most," Wildes said. "It's the one that he claims made him the best player of all time. So I would love the fairytale of him going back there. But the other part of it, the sort of darker part of the fairytale is this. I view this as a sign that maybe [LeBron's] … relationship with the Lakers is a little more fractured than we thought."

James joined the Lakers in 2018, leading L.A. to a championship in 2020. Since then, however, it's been mostly downhill. The Lakers finished 11th in the West this past season (33-49) and lost eight of their final 10 games, missing the playoffs entirely after being eliminated in the first round the year prior. 

James averaged 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists in 2021-22 but missed 26 games.

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