When LeBron left his hometown Cavaliers for the second time back in 2018 to join the Lakers and finally move to Hollywood, there was a sense of finality. Where better to finish your career than in Los Angeles wearing the iconic Purple & Gold, in the city that will be the center of your future business ventures? But due to the disappointing state of the Lakers and the emergence of the young Cavaliers, rumors have started to emerge about the possibility of the second return home for "The King."
Bill Simmons stirs the pot
Bill Simmons is one of the better-known podcasters and analysts, as his interesting takes often make waves in the NBA world. One of the recent ones that started talks and speculations is regarding LeBron and his future. With the Cavs being one of the most pleasant surprises of the season and LeBron's Lakers being somewhat underwhelming, Simmons proposed the narrative of LeBron going home and finishing his career in Cleveland:
Although Simmons was saying this more in a joking nature, the buzz and logical side of this narrative actually got me thinking. If superstars like LeBron thrive on something, it's the excitement of new chapters and stories like this. When LeBron left for Miami, it broke the internet. Going back to Cleveland was once again huge, while joining the Lakers seemed like the epitome of James's career. But is it really the last stop?
Could this happen?
Turning 37 years old later this month, with a contract that expires in 2023, it's hard to imagine LeBron anywhere else, but everything is possible. Injuries and age have started to catch up with LeBron, but despite all of that, he is not slowing down when playing, averaging 25.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg, and 6.8 apg. Sure he's far from the best version of himself, and carrying a disappointing Lakers team is too much of a task to handle.
Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook were supposed to take the burden of LeBron's back, but that plan hasn't come to fruition so far. But if you look at Cleveland, there is no shortage of exciting young talent that is only a veteran star away from contending. Coming into the season, nobody expected much from the Cavs, but they are sitting at 19-12 and firmly holding a playoff spot, as Cleveland is seeing a whole new era.
The frontcourt duo of Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley is working perfectly, presenting a defensive wall not too many players can get by. In addition to the two big men flourishing, Darius Garland has taken a huge leap forward, showing star potential at the point guard position. Guys like Rubio, Markkanen, Okoro, Love, and Osman have stepped up and played great in Bickerstaff's system despite Sexton's season-ending injury.
These are almost all guys in their early 20's, as the Cavaliers are being relevant without LeBron after a very long time. But like it was said before, you can't count LeBron out of the picture. A trade is unlikely, but in 2023 at 39 years old, LeBron could return home for one or two seasons to finish where it all started, maybe even alongside his son Bronny in some wild scenario, competing for another championship along all those young stars.
That would be a hell of a storybook ending for "The King." Although it seems far-fetched, you can never count out the NBA and LeBron on surprising you with the unexpected.