LeBron James Increasingly Mulling Cavs Return

July 7 2014 at 8:20am CDT By Chuck Myron

LeBron James is thinking more and more about the Cavs as he decides where to sign, sources tell Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Cleveland’s brass is confident that James is receptive to the pitch they made to agent Rich Paul last week, as the ESPN scribes detail. Still, the player atop our 2014 Free Agent Power Rankings harbors lingering ill feelings over Cavs owner Dan Gilbert’s reaction to his 2010 departure, despite a degree of reconciliation between the two as time has passed, according to Windhorst and Stein.

The Cavs are centering their case for LeBron on their capability for growth and improvement not just this summer but in years to come, with as many as three first-round picks in 2015 and young, team-controlled talent, like Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins, Windhorst and Stein write. Cleveland is planning to point to Brendan Haywood‘s contract as another of their weapons, as the ESPN duo explains. Haywood, who’s headed to Cleveland via trade, has a salary of more than $2.2MM for 2014/15, but the final season of his contract is a non-guaranteed salary of more than $10.5MM, a vestige of Haywood having been claimed off amnesty waivers in 2012. That bloated non-guaranteed salary makes Haywood’s deal a valuable expiring contract this coming season or, as Windhorst and Stein point out, a weapon for a sign-and-trade next summer.

The Cavs don’t possess the cap flexibility to give James a max contract as their books currently stand. Rather than waiving Anderson Varejao‘s partially guaranteed contract to create the necessary cap space, they prefer to deal Jarrett Jack, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported Sunday. They have a deal in place to trade Jack to the Nets provided the teams can find a third club willing to absorb Marcus Thornton, according to other reports.

Heat president Pat Riley will reportedly meet this week with James in an effort to keep him in Miami. The Heat have eyed significant free agents along the lines of Marcin Gortat, Kyle Lowry, Luol Deng and even Carmelo Anthony, but they don’t think they need to add a star to convince James, Wade and Bosh to re-sign, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. Instead, they’re merely looking for upgrades in the roles that Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem and Shane Battier have played in the past few years, Deveney writes.

13 thoughts on “LeBron James Increasingly Mulling Cavs Return

  1. Wow, things could really shift if Lebron bolts for the Cavs. You’d have to think that means Bosh winds up in Houston. If Melo follows suit and bolts for the Lakers (which is getting increasingly likely given his friendship with Kobe Bryant, the max deal on the table, and the likelihood Gasol is going to take less money to win/form another big 3), the East is going to look way different. And what about Wade? Does he stay with the Heat? Or sign with a contender like Chicago?

  2. B.S.

    “we’ve got nothing to report” But we think….

    Sources in Miami say otherwise. Same sources who were right about LBJ coming to the heat. This is all hyperbole.

    1. Well, the reports are coming from two separate sources, neither of which is a local source (and as we know, most local sources are biased). Take everything with a grain of salt, but I doubt Marc Stein (who’s on the level more often than not) would report this without some iota of truth to the report.

  3. Makes a lot of sense on many levels. With the talent they have their already, especially if they swing a Love deal, they would far more competitive than continuing with the big three in Miami.

  4. If LBJ goes to CLE, do the Bulls still amnesty Boozer and to the Thunder amnesty Perkins? Both of which will likely end up in CLE on min salary if that happens.

    Trading Jack shouldn’t be a huge issue, the Bucks/Sixers could facilitate a trade, but the Nets would need to give up something of value … like their next available draft pick.

    1. The Thunder aren’t amnestying Perkins. Not unless they want to lose Durant in free agency next year.

      1. He’s 9.xx against the cap. And if they want Pau, they’re probably going to have to amnesty Perkins or trade him to the Sixers/Bucks etc..

          1. They’re not going to amnesty Perkins to sign a guy that isn’t going to be able to defend players like Dwight Howard. They need Perkins more than they need Gasol, even if he is overpaid.

          2. Kendrick Perkins – 6.32 PER, 20 minutes a game.., his blocks 2014- .5; 2013- 1.1; 2012- 1.1, and 2011- .9. What does he add defensively other than just fouling Howard? He only grabs a handful of boards. Pau 19.34 PER, 30+ mins a game for his career never under 30…, above 1.2 blocks since 09-10, and almost grabs double digit boards. You can put any stiff in to foul a guy like Howard like Thabeet, Adams, Collison.

          3. Counting stats are not the only thing involved in defense. Perkins’ value as a defender is as a body, not for picking up steals and blocks. One cannot simply “score” on Perkins, they have to work a lot harder.

          4. Whatever you think you’re seeing when you watch Kendrick Perkins play, it’s not there. Youtube Kwame Brown over Kendrick Perkins.

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