Saturday 03rd December 2016,
Balltribe

Would LeBron James Consider Returning to Heat if Cavaliers Win NBA Title?

Would LeBron James Consider Returning to Heat if Cavaliers Win NBA Title?

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With LeBron James set to opt out of his contract this summer, you knew free-agency rumors, however seemingly farfetched, were coming.

You just didn’t expect this.

Typical chatter would have him bolting Cleveland if the Cavaliers failed to win a title. But ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith delivered a different message entirely, per Dan Feldman of ProBasketballTalk:

I’ll drop one other tidbit of information, because people have been ignoring what I’ve been saying. I’ve hinted around it for months as you well know. But I’m going to say this again.

LeBron James promised the city of Cleveland, “I’m coming back to bring you that elusive title that has escaped this city since 1964.” He never said anything about staying once he does accomplish that.

I’m in Miami last week. I’m in Miami a few months ago. Skip Bayless, I’m hearing about a return to Miami if this man wins. He ain’t going nowhere if he loses. But, if he wins, his options are open. LA, but especially Miami, a return to South Beach.

Look man, there’s a lot going on. And there’s a lot riding on him winning. Losing changes everything, because it keeps him in Cleveland. But more importantly, it keeps him stuck, because he knows he can’t leave until he fulfills his promise. And if you can’t because you’re not a champion, that’s far worse than just choosing to stay because you want to.

It’s going to get very interesting. Keep your eyes on it.

As Feldman would point out, LeBron never explicitly said in his return letter that he was planning to win as many titles as possible in Cleveland. If he sees a better opportunity elsewhere, maybe he seizes it, knowing he made good on his literal promise. This is the guy, after all, who left Miami after making four straight Finals appearances.

Still, this feels like a longer than long shot. History would remember LeBron too kindly for spurning Cleveland a second time, even if he wins them a title. And while he will have left them in better shape than he found them, giving all his surrounding talent, the idea that he would risk that public relations hit while still in his prime doesn’t feel real.

Maybe once he’s firmly on the back end of his career and looking to team up with Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul at the same time. Right now, though, no matter how the Cavaliers’ season ends, it’s far more likely he’ll be in Cleveland next season and for many other seasons to come.

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