LeBron James will be eligible to opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat after next season. Teams are already starting to prepare for this by making sure they have max cap space available in the summer of 2014.
Could LeBron possibly return to Cleveland in a little over one year? It sounds crazy at first but then again it sounds like something LeBron would maybe consider.
We know LeBron isn’t necessarily loyal to the team he plays for. That obviously isn’t the case because he already left Cleveland. We also know that LeBron wants to win as many titles as possible before he retires and he is willing to go to the team with the best chance to do so. That’s why he picked Miami a few summers ago.
After next season, Cleveland may be in a very good position to compete for a title if they were to add LeBron. Kyrie Irving will be entering his fourth season in the NBA that summer and he has already shown signs of becoming the elite point guard of the future.
The Cavaliers also have young building blocks like Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller on their roster right now. If just one of those players blossoms into a near All-Star caliber player then Cleveland could be a perfect landing spot for LeBron in 2014.
Isn’t there also a part of LeBron that has to want to make things right with his hometown again?
It would make sense for LeBron to stay in the Eastern Conference as well, which has been much weaker than the West for some time now. And when you look around the rest of the East now, there aren’t many young teams on the verge of becoming title contenders.
Of course it will probably be tough for a team like Cleveland to look more appetizing for LeBron than Miami in just two years. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh still aren’t that old yet and will likely be at near All-Star levels still in 2014.
But if they do start to drop off and the Heat are doing nothing more than filling out their roster with veteran minimum contracts over the next two years, that could change LeBron’s mind about his title hopes in Miami.
It will also be hard for LeBron to consider leaving if Miami wins another title or two before that summer. He’s probably not one to leave a team who has made it to the NBA Finals in four straight seasons and won a few championships.
LeBron will be still only 29 years old in 2014. If he stays in Miami for the final two years of his current contract, he won’t be signing another contract until he is 31. LeBron will definitely be one of the two best players in the league still at age 29 but by 31, maybe he will start to drop off. And signing a max contract at age 29 will mean he can probably get another max contract before his career is over, while waiting to sign a max contract at age 31 will mean it is likely his last.
Basically, LeBron might be able to maximize his NBA salary earnings by leaving Miami in 2014.
There is a lot of time between now and the summer of 2014 and a lot of things that could happen for LeBron. It’s never too early to start preparing for the future though and Cleveland will quickly forget how LeBron left them if he decides to come back home.