LeBron James might have just signed a four-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers this summer, but the 33-year-old All-Star is already getting questions about where he could end up when his contract expires.
At the grand opening of his I Promise school in Akron Ohio on Monday, James was asked if he would ever consider returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a third and final stint, and he told Tom Withers of the Associated Press that it’s possible:
As far as basketball, the 33-year-old superstar said the decision to leave Cleveland again was difficult, but he didn’t rule out a second homecoming with the Cavaliers.
“Listen, I don’t close the chapter on anything or close the book on anything,” James said when asked if he would return to Cleveland to end his career. “But hopefully I can sit there one day and watch my jersey go up into the rafters, that’s for sure.”
After (basically) singlehandedly ending Cleveland’s 52-year championship drought, James has every right to want to see his jersey hanging from the rafters at the Quicken Loans Arena when he hangs up his sneakers and according to Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, James will get his wish. That may seem like a given, but given Gilbert and James’ history, you just never know.
As far as a return to the Cavaliers, that’s less of a sure thing.
Even if James decided to opt out of the the fourth year of his contract, he would be 36 years old when he hit unrestricted free agency again. Yes, it’s well-documented how well James takes care of his body, but father time is undefeated, especially with players that have logged as many minutes as he has (44,298 minutes played so far, which already ranks No. 20 all-time).
However, it wouldn’t be surprising to see James return to the Cavs in some capacity in the near future. It’s been rumored that James has his eyes set on owning an NBA team once he retires, and it’s probably safe to assume his hometown Cavs are at the top of his wishlist.
Luckily, James still has a few years to figure things out, but knowing the type of person he is, he’s likely already got almost everything mapped out.