July 23, 2014

NBA Rumor: Cleveland Cavaliers targeting summer of 2014, LeBron James

The whispers surrounding the worst kept secret amongst NBA circles are growing increasingly louder.

While many fans wonder when the Cleveland Cavaliers will make a move to help win basketball games, it appears that the answer is the summer of 2014 when LeBron James can opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat. In his piece which was filed for the Sunday morning paper, Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon-Journal writes that it is almost consenus feeling that Chris Grant and the Cavaliers are looking to bring James back to the Wine and Gold.

“Executives and agents around the league are convinced the Cavaliers won’t do anything to jeopardize their ability to sign a free agent to a max contract during the summer of 2014, when LeBron James can again become a free agent,” writes Lloyd. “As fans in Northeast Ohio continue to howl and remain divided about the possibility of his return, more and more people around the league believe there is a strong possibility James will indeed return to Cleveland after next season.”

It was James who famously left Cleveland after a free agency circus that led to The Decision and the then two-time MVP “taking his talents” to Miami to play for the Heat. He would win a NBA Championship one season later.

Alas, while the Cavaliers continue to have one of the most favorable cap situations in the league, they will not be taking on a bad contract — or one that carries beyond next season — for the sake of adding a four-to-five win player (a la Rudy Gay) this year. With Anderson Varejao injured, this all equates to a quiet trade deadline and a plan that could either blow up in their face similar to the New York Knicks, or allow them to strike gold — like the Heat — in pairing James with one of the best young talents in the game in Kyrie Irving.

James recently switched his representation to Rich Paul, a native Clevelander (and friend) who also represents Cavaliers power forward Tristan Thompson.

[Related: Cavaliers Film Room: The Recipe For Success]

  • Trev

    I’m down

  • Tim K.

    He obviously did a lot of damage to his reputation when he left here. However, I bet he could make a lot of that up if he decided to come back and take the veterans minimum so the team would sign/retain some other talent.

    Dude doesn’t need the money, and it would help repair his reputation here.

  • Harv 21

    no, Scott, “almost consensus” and Cavs “targeting” LeBron is not an accurate reading of the article. Here’s what the writer claims:

    “Executives and agents around the league are convinced the Cavaliers
    won’t do anything to jeopardize their ability to sign a free agent to a
    max contract during the summer of 2014, when LeBron James can again
    become a free agent … more and more people
    around the league believe there is a strong possibility James will
    indeed return to Cleveland after next season.”

    Who are those unnamed “execs and agents,” how many are there and how do they know? Maybe a couple ass’t GMs and Lebron’s gophers who would take the author’s calls? Who has expressed any knowledge that the Cavs are targeting him in particular, as opposed to speculating because the Cavs have to something with that cap room.

    “More and more people believe there is a strong possibility …” Like how many? It’s grown from one to four? Seven? Who are they and how do they know??

    You interpret these words as “almost consensus.” C’mon. That’s an exaggeration resting on vague, unsupported assertions. You guys claim these headlines on WFNY simply repeat what’s going around. Here, if you’ve added your own bit of yeast by making the claim stronger than written. Can’t we at least wait to hear what Stephen A. Smith has to say?

  • JK

    Bu… But… I.. already burned my jersey…….

  • BenRM

    I’m probably in the minority when I say that I would love this. I am (mostly) over the scorn.

    LBJ with Kyrie and Andy? Yes please. It would already be the best LBJ Cavs team assembled. I just want to win. And if it means swallowing the Decision pill, I’ll gladly do so.

    I’m not optimistic that it will happen, though.

  • FearTheRoo

    I don’t really think Lebron cares what people in Cleveland think of him. If he did he never would have left. Right now it’s just speculation and I don’t think the Cavs are seriously planning their future around a guy who won’t be playing here. If they are, it ‘s going to result in years of leaving until Kyrie leaves. There’s a better chance that Kyrie is in Miami in 2014, than Lebron in Cleveland.

  • jsnowbed

    Rumors also say that the Bucks, Raptors, Warriors, Wizards and Bobcats also want Lebron and won’t be getting him, just like the Cavs.

  • humboldt

    I’m with you, and I don’t think it’s a minority – most reasonable people will have worked through their anger by now. To forgive is devine, as they say

  • humboldt

    So you’re that one guy!

  • humboldt

    It would be an epic story of forgiveness, and demonstrate the high character of Cleveland fans on a national level

  • http://twitter.com/dimoko dimoko

    If you would have given LeBrown a PG like kyrie and a coach like byron scott a few years ago he wouldn’t have left. it will be tough for me to forgive him, but as soon as he plays a few games, i probably will

  • mgbode

    Well, golly geez I cannot wait. Have the Cavs jump into the next LeBron FA cycle just so that he can embarrass us again and go back to Miami (or maybe the Knicks have a better team for him now if he waits 1 more year).

    And, best of all for LeBron, is that he (and the media) will be able to point to Gilbert/Grant and the entire city of Cleveland and say that you can no longer be bitter about the whole thing because you were willing to take him back.

    Ummm, no thanks. I enjoyed the years he was here (and always will), but he left. He is not coming back. Let’s just move on and get back to our problems in our normal lives while he continues to be LeBron. Okay?

  • boomhauertjs

    “The Redemption”?

    It’s pretty sad that the state of our teams have left us hoping for the small chance that a local guy who spurned us on national TV will return (even if that guy is the best basketball player on the planet).

  • JK

    I am. Have they come out with a way to un burn something yet?

  • mgbode

    but to forget is foolish

  • RGB

    Sign him.
    I’m willing to get over it, for a Title.
    “Just win, baby.” ;)

  • NoVA Buckeye

    Not one, not two, not three, not four… Wait, He won’t be around for five?

  • saggy

    Yeah, the “consensus” statement is a bit of hyperbole, but cut him some slack, Harv – it’s Monday. We have all read and listened to A LOT of people saying this could happen. ESPN, CBS, blogs, paper media in CLE, MIA, NYC, etc. The consensus is that Grant wants him back – not that he will actually come.

    I wouldn’t mind some deeper explanations either, but I am OK with the fact that this post is here, likely, to trigger a good conversation amongst us readers.

    But, just in case, maybe Scott should just invest in a Thesaurus. I’ll check amazon to see if we can find him a good one.

    And, for the record, I used to work with Stephen A Smith – I can tell you he is one of the most courteous, professional, and friendly guys in the business. I always like to recall this time he was standing at the fax machine for what seemed like hours, so I went up and asked him what he was waiting for. Dude thought it was the printer. We had a laugh. good man, that one.

  • architrance

    The Cavs wasted years counting on a guy who didn’t want to be here. I hope to god their not putting all of their eggs in that basket again.

    Your ex-girlfriends gone, she’s not coming back

  • Kenny_Chill

    Dammit! Now I can’t hate Smith anymore. I still don’t enjoy him on TV, though. His thing with emphasizing transition words just kills me.

  • Harv 21

    nothing indicated in the article, or from any source I’ve seen, that the Cavs are “targeting” LeBron. This is a story angle – “redemption! forgiveness!” – that media have a vested interest in seeing come to pass. The story being passed on and inflated above is supposedly fact-based (as opposed to get-me-some-hits based). I don’t see any facts to be a springboard for yet another convo here about LeBron returning.

    Gilbert has well-publicized issues with LeBron. When we have some – any- indication that those issues can be resolved we can have an intelligent discussion about LeBron returning. Until then it feels just like an excuse to rehash the same stuff.

  • Jon

    Am I the only one who thinks that the whole thing was a conspiracy? In all the years that LeBron was here, the draft was a non-issue. If, just one year, the “All-Mighty One” got injured, and the Cavs were to have a high draft pick, we would have a far greater chance of winning a title, but this never happened.

    So the front office comes up with a plan: LeBron leaves Cleveland, given the chance to sign anywhere he wants. Then, in 4 or 5 years, he comes back. He comes back to a rebuilt team that is far better than any team he had in Cleveland.

    The thing is, this plan worked even better than Dan Gilbert and the FO ever could have imagined, and the Cavs strike gold again in Kyrie Irving!

  • Tim K.

    What a genius move…leave here, everyone burns/throws away jersey. Come back 4 years later and everyone has to buy your jersey again!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Hey if Derek Anderson can come back to the Browns then so can LBJ with the Cavaliers!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I’m sure Gilbert will provide you with plenty of opportunitues to purchase a new one. Besides he wears #6 now and by then the Cavaliers will most likely have another 3-4 additional uniform color schemes under their belt.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Oh but he is coming back Nostrildamus, he is coming back and frankly I can’t wait. I’m hoping the day he does Bruce Drennan pops a blood vessel on live TV not because I dislike Drennan but because of the childish, petty, moronic way he continues to act over James leaving. Which is ironic since that’s how he felt about James leaving. It’s sports not real life get over it!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Ladies and gentleman the Cleveland Browns motto for the upcoming season: To forget is foolish!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    It wouldn’t bother me at all either to have the best basketball player in the NBA back especially if it meant a championship. To say that’s a long ways away would be the understatement of the century but hey, we can dream. Oh and yes to Kyrie and most likely Andy will be here because noone will trade for him by then because he’ll most likely be like Z was at the end.

  • Garry_Owen

    Well, by the time 2014 free agency rolls around, we will have already celebrated our first Super Bowl championship and another World Series win, so nobody will really care about LeBron leaving way back when.

  • Natedawg86

    “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Isn’t it a little early to be raiding my Kool-Aid so heavily?

  • Garry_Owen

    It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.

  • humboldt

    blessed are the forgetful

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/ Scott @ WFNY

    So because a beat writer doesn’t name his sources, my citing of his report is hyperbole because I cite a feeling throughout the league? I get that you’re the resident critic these days, but I think this one is a bit of a reach. It’s also a storyline you should get used to because the summer of ’14 is a long ways away.

  • TSR3000

    I would support the hell out of his return. My only fear is that we would be crushed with disappointment once again when he backs out of a deal last minute.

  • woofersus

    Dear Miami, welcome to the 3rd year of a 5yr. Lebron James contract. (AKA, “impending free agency”) Every team in the league will be rumored to be after him. Every city he has even a “6 degrees” type connection to will be rumored to be his preferred destination. It will not stop; he will not commit. Frankly, he’ll probably leave, even if not to return to Cleveland. This is your new reality, no matter how many games you win. Get used to it.

  • steve-o

    I have no doubt that we would sign him for both basketball and business reasons. But why would LeBron come back? Maybe if he believes the following;

    1) Miami has an aging roster with a less than stellar future.
    2) Championships can be won here.
    3) He could recoup the ‘billion’ dollars in brand equity lost by the decision.
    4) He would be warmly accepted back to his hometown of Akron.
    5) It is funner to build snowmen with his kids in the winter than it is to go to the beach.

  • Jared in LA

    IF IF IF….Lebron would sign here in 2014, if he DOESN’T win a title, there will be no love lost at all. He will be crucified just as he left, for he will be known as the guy who left in his prime to win elsewhere and came back and didn’t win. How is this helpful to Lebron?

  • SDA

    Here in Henry county (German country) we say its gotta be noon somewhere. And it is

  • TSR3000

    I want a title. I don’t care how/why/who.

  • theherd10

    Just no.

  • Jaker

    Guys, great news. Not only is LeBron and DA coming back, but so is CC Sabathia! And David Dellucci!

  • cmm13

    We did have a high draft pick while LeBron James was here..his name is Luke Jackson.
    We passed on Jameer Nelson for Luke Jackson and it was all downhill from there.
    Oh and yes, you are the only one who thinks the whole thing was a conspiracy.

  • humboldt

    I don’t think anyone is banking on this happening, but doesn’t hurt to be open to the possibility. I kind of like the ring of “The Redemption” :)

  • stryker1121

    Yep it was all part of the wide-ranging conspiracy for LeBron to sell more jerseys! Fiendish!

  • stryker1121

    Truth is indeed stranger than fiction…nothing #6 does would surprise me at this point. Could not imagine the reaction in this town if James brought his talents and his black-framed nerd glasses back to NEO.

  • CBI

    My thoughts exactly, we might as well enjoy a year and a half being on the other side of the field where the grass is always greener.

  • Jason

    Even if we get him, how do we keep him from checking out like he did in the 2010 playoffs?

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Don’t rehire Mike Brown!

  • Harv 21

    “Cavs targeting LeBron” – show me where the beat writer supports that. As opposed to it would be a cool story, or even that LeBron is the one targeting Cavs.

    “It is almost consensus.” – he didn’t say that, Scott, you did, as a descriptive link to his story.

    I don’t view myself as “resident critic” and don’t think that’s fair. I call you out at times when analysis gets sloppy. Seems to me if you mess up and add something unwarranted to rumors you’d want someone to point it out, as opposed to just “atta boy, good article” reader feedback. Or not.