CLEVELAND — When LeBron James returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014, many considered the move to be a sentimental one. But admittedly, there were basketball reasons for it too.
And with James now once against linked to a potential return to Cleveland, there could be even more of an on-court incentive for him to do so.
Appearing on ESPN's "Get Up" on Wednesday, analyst Jalen Rose discussed the idea of James returning for what would be a third career stint with the Cavs. And in doing so, the former All-Star guard said that if the Los Angeles Lakers superstar wants to add a fifth NBA title to his resume, then a return to Northeast Ohio would be his best bet.
"If LeBron really wants to go win a championship, you know what he would do? He'd go to Cleveland and play for the [contract] minimum. That's what he'd actually do," Rose said. "Not force them to give up any of their young assets, like [Darius] Garland and [Evan] Mobley, who were terrific this [All-Star] weekend, along with Jarrett Allen. [Collin] Sexton is still a part of their growth period, we'll see what happens with him."
Rose's comments come just days after James -- who said he considered himself to be Cleveland's third All-Star last weekend -- told Jason Lloyd of The Athletic that he was still open to once again playing for the Cavs one day.
“The door’s not closed on that,” James told Lloyd. “I’m not saying I’m coming back and playing, I don’t know. I don’t know what my future holds. I don’t even know when I’m free.”
While James isn't scheduled to become a free agent until after the 2022-23 season, the possibility exists that he could orchestrate a trade in the offseason as he prepares to enter the final year of his contract in Los Angeles. In 41 games this season, the 37-year-old James has averaged 29.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.5 assists, with the Lakers currently sitting at ninth in the Western Conference at 27-31.