After the 2014 season, LeBron James will once again become a free agent. The Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly hoping that he'll make the decision to come back to his hometown.
It's not the first time that it has been rumored that the Cavs were interested in courting James for a return to Northeast Ohio. Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, however, continued to fan the flames over the weekend, writing about the team's intentions looking toward the 2014 off season. Lloyd wrote:
"With the summer of 2014 quickly approaching, the length of a contract the Cavs will absorb is now limited.
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. 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.
The Cavs are well aware of this, too, and won't take on a bad contract if it compromises their cap space in two years. That means any bad contract they would obtain in a potential trade would have to expire after next season. It doesn't make a deal impossible, but it dramatically reduces the field — and it decreases the price the Cavs can command since their future obligations would be brief."
While the possibility of James' return to Cleveland seems like a far-fetched fantasy, there are some reasons why he might wish to return, despite the fact that when he left in summer 2010 Cleveland fans revolted, torching jerseys, clothes and anything with the number 23 or his name on it. For one, Kyrie Irving has become a top point guard (when healthy). Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters, and Tyler Zeller are all first round draft picks who are young enough to develop into solid contributors. The Cavs also have two more first round picks in the 2013 Draft, which could help create an appealing young team to entice James with.
With more than a year and a half left until James becomes a free agent, expect the rumor mills to be pumping out possibilities left and right and the whisperings of a LeBron James return to Cleveland to continue.