LeBron James’ free agency has been a topic of conversation for much of the season. The Cleveland Cavaliers have looked dysfunctional for much of the season despite reaching the Eastern Conference Finals for the fourth straight season. James’ relationship with owner Dan Gilbert has always been frayed and having brought a championship to his hometown, James could find it easier to leave Cleveland for the second time.
Nevertheless, no one can truly know where LeBron’s head is at regarding his free agency. As the best player in the NBA, he will have his pick of nearly every team in the league pending cap space. As usual, the Lakers are among those linked to the superstar, potentially able to woo him with young talent, cap space for two star additions and the opportunity to live in LA where James could continue growing his business empire.
But as it stands, it’s not clear whether James would even leave Cleveland. With no tangible reports on his line of thinking, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst offered his thoughts on how Cleveland could pitch a return to LeBron on the Woj Podcast:
“I think the Cavs’ greatest situation is that there’s no other great situation. And that may end up keeping LeBron put.”
To an extent, that’s true. The best teams that LeBron James could join would find it difficult to open cap space for him. James would earn the most money next year by re-signing in Cleveland.
That said, LeBron will influence any front office in the league. Teams can open up cap space, trade for stars and generally do anything it takes if LeBron shows a semblance of interest.
This is the first time since going back to Cleveland that there’s some smoke in Cleveland indicating that LeBron could leave. But based on the outlook of the league – only five teams have max-level cap space without making additional moves – it’s possible that LeBron could delay a move for another year.