Given the Los Angeles Lakers' dire situation thus far, it would take a miracle for LeBron James to claim his fifth title. Some claim he's already the Greatest of All Time, and therefore, he has nothing left to prove. However, the reality is the more titles there are in your trophy case, the better your argument for the GOAT title. With this in mind, NBA player-turned analyst Jalen Rose offered one way for James to win one more title: go back to Cleveland.
Cleveland, this is for you
In ESPN's Get Up, Rose proposed his bold strategy. Donning the Wine and Gold is just one part. Taking a minimum deal for the first time in his career is the other.
"If LeBron really wants to go win a championship, you know what he needs to do? Go to Cleveland and play for the minimum. That's what he'd actually do. Not force them to give up their young assets like Garland, Mobley who were terrific this weekend, along with Jarrett Allen." Rose said.
The Cavaliers have been one of the biggest surprises this season. As of writing, they have a 35-23 record, which is good enough for fourth in the East — just 2.5 games behind the first seed. Analysts were satisfied with their offseason moves, especially signing Jarrett Allen to a five-year, $100 million deal and picking up USC standout Evan Mobley as their third overall pick. Given the Cavaliers' youth, analysts believed it would take them two to three seasons to develop fully as a team. No one expected them to be this good this early.
As such, Rose's proposal makes perfect sense. From the looks of it, Rose is also building upon James' earlier statement that he hasn't closed his doors on a possible return to Cleveland. What makes Rose's scheme interesting is the part where James needs to take a minimum deal and for the Cavaliers to keep their young guns.
A narrative for the ages
Rose has seen this movie before. A team — well-aware of James' capacity to guide a team to the NBA Finals — would move heaven and earth just to acquire him. It worked in Miami, his second stint in Cleveland, as well as in Los Angeles. However, given how good and seemingly mature the Cavs' young guns are now, it doesn't make much sense for the Wine and Gold to follow this cycle.
At face value, there are lingering questions about the potential fit. In all of his championship teams, James always had a big man who can stretch the floor. Think of Chris Bosh, Kevin Love, and Anthony Davis. Mobley and Allen haven't developed their stroke yet to be considered elite. So this might be one of the finer talking points if James goes back home.
If James goes home and wins another title, then it would be considered one of the best narratives in all of sports. LeBron seems to have a good understanding of how stories work. James knows how much he broke the city's heart when he first left for South Beach. He patched things up when he brought home the title in 2016. The narrative would elevate to another level if James wins another title and retire as a Cavalier.
Whatever the case may be, fans should keep their eyes peeled for James' next move. He'll still be under contract next season. But given James' leverage and stature, anything could happen.