The Cleveland Cavaliers traded Lauri Markkan, Collin Sexton, Ochai Agbagi, three unexpected first-round draft picks (2025, 2027 and 2029) and two picks (2026 and 2028) to the Utah Jazz for Donovan Mitchell, as well as LeBron James. Return to Cleveland in the coming years?
Let’s say the Los Angeles Lakers have another miserable season with James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook. Would GM Rob Pelinka ever consider trading James? Above all, Bron thinks about winning.
According to Cavaliers reporter Chris Fedor, this trick play is hidden in the books, but it’s still possible. “I think they would be open to it on their own terms, with the right terms,” Fedor said.
“Very different terms than back in 2014,” Fedor continued. “When you buy LeBron, there’s a lot that goes along with that. He wants authority and helps to make decisions on the list and the people employed in the organization.
“He wants to be at the center of everything and he wants to have a team built around his strengths and those lines. The Knights don’t sign up for that.
“They feel good about what they have here, especially with the addition of Donovan Mitchell. In the year In 2014, they needed a catcher and they needed LeBron to come back and take them to the next level.
Can LeBron James return to the Cavaliers after the Donovan Mitchell trade?
In mid-August, the four-time MVP signed a two-year, $97.1 million contract with the Lakers. But he has an opt-out option in the 2024-25 season.
LeBron signed this particular extension because if another team drafts his soon-to-be 18-year-old son, Brony, he could opt out of it in the future. James has been vocal about playing in the NBA with his kids.
Even with Mitchell, Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen, this Cavaliers trade may not be enough to return the team to the NBA Finals. James may be the missing piece. It’s not like he’s retiring anytime soon. The 18-time All-Star wants to play into his 40s.
Aside from the Miami Heat, the only other team fans will see James play again are the Cleveland Cavaliers. The salary cap is one significant factor, though.
Of course, James’ $97.1 million contract has the potential to increase to $111 million if the 2023-24 salary cap increases significantly. He is the highest paid NBA player of all time.
However, the 19-year-old veteran will get his wish if he wants it. Imagine a trade package that includes Kevin Love, Caris LeVert, Cedi Osman, and several future first or second round picks for LeBron James.
Love’s cap number for the 2022-23 season is $28,942,830. And the team has yet to offer LeVert a new deal. The cap for next season is $18,796,296.
While the Cavs don’t have the 2025, 2027 and 2029 first-round draft picks, the front office will find a way to make a blockbuster trade if James is interested in returning to Cleveland. Trading Mitchell may not be the best long-term solution.
If the Lakers can’t land LeBron’s kids going forward, he wants to play as a playoff contender that keeps the family together. If Bronny and Bryce want to stay in the City of Angels, Los Angeles Clips could be another option.
Of course, it’s mindless speculation, but these rumors are still fun to discuss.