It has been difficult in recent months to find many who believe LeBron James will re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers this summer. But don’t worry: such people exist.
According to ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin, at least two members of the Cavaliers, one of whom is a player, believe that Cleveland has the best chance of any team to land LeBron:
In the past week, two members of the 2017-18 Cavaliers — a player and another staff member — relayed to ESPN that they believe Cleveland has the best chance of any team to land LeBron.
A small sample size, sure, but also an indication of the belief that exists around the franchise despite a year full of unfavorable Vegas odds and #hegone tweets that fueled the public perception that James’ departure was a foregone conclusion.
McMenamin’s piece is worth a read in its entirety. It lays out all the reasons James could eschew his other, arguably more promising suitors and remain in Cleveland. And the scenario, while farfetched to some, isn’t that far off-base.
The main premise of his return: If not the Cavaliers, then where?
LeBron may feel secure in his legacy, but he’s also a competitor. If he’s going to join a third franchise, it will be one, in all likelihood, that positions him to immediately unseat the Golden State Warriors. That sure-thing situation isn’t out there—not even with the Houston Rockets. They give him the best chance to do so (outside of Boston), but the window there is wonky with Chris Paul entering his age 33 season and James Harden barreling toward his 30th birthday. Most of James’ other options will need a year to marinate before they’re ready to scrap and claw their way against the Warriors.
That leaves Cleveland as a more desirable ending point than advertised. Re-signing with the Cavaliers is the teflon legacy play—few would fault him for it. They could also provide him temporary cover, with another one-plus-one deal that allows him to reassess the landscape in 2019. Whatever the context of him potentially staying put, don’t rule it out. It could happen.