LeBron James reportedly 50-50 to return to Cavaliers, open to Knicks
While filling in as a host on “The Michael Kay Show” on ESPN Radio New York Tuesday, Smith shared some information about the free agency picture for next season (20:00 mark). Smith says New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony is “likely” to opt out of his contract next year. He says there is a “50-50 possibility” that ‘Melo leaves to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Smith also says that there is a strong possibility that LeBron will consider signing with the Cavs next year, and that the four-time MVP is open to signing with the Knicks.
James is signed through 2015-2016, but he can opt out of the final two years of his deal and become a free agent next year.
“LeBron has put word out that the New York Knicks is something that he would entertain. But at the same time, they’re a distant, distant, distant third — as is everyone else — to staying in Miami, and heading to Cleveland,” Smith said on the show.
“Right now, just as much as there’s a 50-50 possibility that Carmelo will leave the Knicks to go to LA, there’s as much of a possibility that LeBron will leave Miami to go back home to Cleveland.”
In making the case for LeBron to leave, Smith states that James lives in Akron in the offseason and wants to make amends with Cleveland fans. Smith also believes James would have little left in Miami to stay for if the team wins a third-straight NBA championship and executive Pat Riley retires.
James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh all structured their contracts the same way and have the ability to opt out of their deals following next season.
One other important item to keep in mind is that James would still want to play on a team with a championship-quality roster. Smith says the Knicks would have to have a strong team for James to consider them, and he believes the Cavs would be well suited for a run at James because they have point guard Kyrie Irving.
I never really thought that James would have a reason to leave Miami while he’s in his prime, but I may have to reconsider after hearing Smith lay out the scenarios. I still expect James to remain with the Heat.
If we can base things on the what this fan did, then it’s safe to say that Cavs fans would happily take back LeBron.
H/T Tommy Beer