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LeBron James Not Ruling Out Return To Cleveland, Will Play With Son In Final NBA Season
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 16: LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers ushers the crowd to be quiet during the fourth quarter against the Utah Jazz at Arena on February 16, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
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Maybe returning to Cleveland for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game is making LeBron James nostalgic. After all, it’s only a 40-mile drive from his hometown of Akron, Ohio, to Cleveland, and James was able to deliver one of the more improbable NBA championships to the Cavaliers organization in 2016.

His move to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018, tied with his somewhat shaky relationship with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, would point to his time in Cleveland uniform being a thing of the past. But sometimes a return to your roots reminds you of the good times, and James isn’t ruling out one more opportunity to don a Cavaliers jersey. 

“The door’s not closed on that,” James told The Athletic on Saturday. “I’m not saying I’m coming back and playing, I don’t know. I don’t know what my future holds. I don’t even know when I’m free.”

Well, James will be “free” next summer, when his current contract with the Lakers expires. At that time, he’ll be 38-years-old and preparing for his 21st NBA season. While James is certainly at the tail end of his career — father time comes for us all — his numbers still jump off the page. Even surrounded by a Lakers roster that is going nowhere, James is averaging 29.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game, while shooting 35.% from beyond the arc. You can bet that all 30 NBA teams would happily give James whatever he demands even as inches closer to 40. 

It’s obvious that James still has things he’d like to accomplish, including winning a fifth championship and surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. But he also has a very different goal. Playing in the NBA with his son, Bronny. 

“My last year will be played with my son,” James told The Athletic. “Wherever Bronny is at, that’s where I’ll be. I would do whatever it takes to play with my son for one year. It’s not about the money at that point.”

Bronny is currently a junior in high school, and won’t be eligible to enter the league until the 2024 NBA Draft, when James will be 39-years-old. 

“Life. Life just changes,” James told The Athletic when asked why he left Cleveland the second time. “You have a mission and you have more goals that you want to set out, you know? When I won a championship here, I didn’t think that I would go anywhere, because I felt like I was complete. And then I realized that I still wanted to, I wanted to reach another level. I wanted to reach another level, so it wasn’t done. My life goal wasn’t complete.”

It’s a telling answer. James has always been difficult to predict, but he’s certainly putting the league on notice with his latest comments. Bronny is currently ranked by ESPN as the 43rd prospect in the class of 2023, but his NBA stock just skyrocketed thanks to his dad’s comments. If drafting Bronny means acquiring the services of arguably the game’s greatest all-time player, Bronny will be a hot commodity in 2024. 

James still has a decent amount of basketball in him, and maybe one final chapter in his illustrious NBA career.

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected].

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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