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The Perfect Career-Ending For LeBron James: Return To Cleveland And Win A Championship With Bronny James And A Talented Team

The Perfect Career-Ending For LeBron James: Come Back To Cleveland And Win A Championship With Bronny James And A Talented Team

In the summer of 2023, LeBron James will be set to be a free agent. At that time, LeBron will be 38 years old. While in most cases, this would cause for a player to retire, this is LeBron James we are talking about. If Tom Brady can keep playing until he is in his mid-40s in the NFL, there is plenty of reason to believe that LeBron will play at least another four years. There’s also an added layer when you calculate the optics of LeBron’s son Bronny.

LeBron has stated in the past that he wants to play with his son, Bronny James if the opportunity arose. Bronny James is currently a junior at Sierra Canyon High School with a graduation date of 2023. With one-and-done rules, Bronny could be eligible to play in the NBA as early as 2024.

Bronny is ranked as the No. 49 overall prospect in the ESPN Top 60 rankings. He currently has scholarship offers from Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, and North Carolina. There is a real shot he can play in the NBA with his father. It’s a great story, but every story needs a storybook ending. With LeBron having a chance to walk out in the sunset, what if he returned to where it all began?

LeBron James Is A Free Agent In 2023 Summer

LeBron James Is A Free Agent In 2023 Summer

LeBron is currently playing on a two-year extension worth up to $85 million. Next year, he will make $44 million in the final year of his contract. The Los Angeles Lakers are an interesting team right now because they have the talent on paper, but are playing like a .500 team. With four championships, LeBron is clearly trying to catch Michael Jordan’s total of six. If LeBron doesn’t think this team can win in the future, we could see him make a run with another team in his final years.

The Lakers are struggling out the gate with Russell Westbrook’s addition to the team. Anthony Davis is locked into Los Angeles for the next five years, but outside of Davis, the team is older. The Lakers are locked into winning either now or next year. If the Lakers don’t win a title, there isn’t much optimism for the team’s future post-2023.

Age is a factor that everyone is monitoring. As of late, LeBron has battled injuries. He is not as durable as he once was. The Lakers have older players that still rely on LeBron to produce. Once LeBron pushes for 40 years in age, it’s not feasible for him to continue to play like that.

Bronny James Will Be Eligible For 2024 NBA Draft

Bronny James Will Be Eligible For 2024 NBA Draft

As previously mentioned, Bronny is being recruited by four major programs. That list will likely grow once he completes his junior season. Bronny is slated to be an off guard/combo with passing skills that could land him as a team’s full-time point guard. He also has impressive shooting skills with potential as a long-range shooter.

Assuming that the Cavaliers keep Garland, the team will eventually need a backup point guard. If the Cavaliers can swing a deal, they could have a new face of Cleveland. Thanks to one-and-done rules, Bronny can declare for the 2024 NBA Draft with hopes of playing with his father as he plays his final years in the league. The Collective Bargaining Agreement of 2004 prohibits high school graduates from playing in the NBA, forcing them to play one year in college.

2023 Cleveland Cavaliers

Potential Starting Lineup: Darius Garland, Collin Sexton, LeBron James, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen

Potential Bench: Isaac Okoro, Cedi Osman, Dylan Windler, Lauri Markannen, Kevin Love

There are a few variables to consider here. For starters, Sexton is eligible to receive a qualifying offer after this offseason. The Cavaliers would need to re-sign Sexton to a lucrative deal. Some believe that Sexton is worth a max contract, while others are unsure. Sexton has been subject to trade rumors because of a money disagreement. With that said, Sexton’s only path to being on this team would be if the team re-signs him this offseason.

As for Darius Garland, that same situation applies in LeBron’s final year next season. In the 2023 offseason, Garland is eligible for the qualifying offer and could receive more money than Sexton. Garland is the more likely player that Cleveland would keep, but there is a path for Cleveland to keep both players in their backcourt for the foreseeable future.

Evan Mobley, Isaac Okoro, and Lamar Stevens all have team options this season, while Dylan Windler is eligible for a qualifying offer. It seems like the Cavaliers would be open to letting Stevens and Windler walk in free agency. The team would probably use the team options on Mobley and Okoro to give the team frontcourt depth in pursuit of the 2023 championship.

The Cavaliers could look to re-sign Kevin Love on a veteran’s minimum. By this time, the Love contract would have run out after the 2022-2023 year. If we speculate the Cavaliers give Sexton and Garland a combined 65 million, while LeBron would likely command $30 million, the Cavaliers would have a payroll around $133 million to nine roster spots. Veterans would probably take less to come to Cleveland to make a run at the title.

2024 Cleveland Cavaliers

Potential Starting Lineup: Darius Garland, Bronny James, LeBron James, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen

Potential Bench: Collin Sexton, Isaac Okoro, Cedi Osman, Kevin Love, Lauri Markannen

The roster for this team would have more variance because many contracts would have run out by now. If the Cavaliers re-sign Sexton and Garland, you would have your starting backcourt with LeBron playing into his age 40 seasons. The only other contracts for the team for this season are Allen and Markkanen, while Okoro would be eligible for the qualifying offer.

By this time, Bronny would be eligible for the 2024 NBA Draft. This is a long time from now, but if LeBron is playing in Cleveland, you have to think that LeBron is going to use any bit of power and influence he has to try and swing the management to get his son to town. Bronny could easily go undrafted too and could sign with his dad’s team. We don’t know how his college years will go, so we can’t speculate the chances of the team having to sign him.

In this hypothetical scenario, Klay Thompson, Tobias Harris, Khris Middleton, Jaylen Brown, Pascal Siakam, and Devin Booker will be on the market. Would any of these players come to play with a 40-year old LeBron, who knows? Assuming LeBron can compete at a moderate level, there is no reason to believe they wouldn’t. If Cleveland snagged one of these players in free agency, the team could look to compete this year as well.

Perfect Ending Of LeBron James’ Career

Perfect Ending Of LeBron James’ Career

Life is an emotional rollercoaster. When LeBron joined Cleveland as the No. 1 overall pick in 2003, he was seen as the savior. He was the hometown kid out of Akron, Ohio with the hype surrounding him as the next Michael Jordan even when he was a senior in high school. LeBron failed to deliver on a championship in his first stint with the Cavaliers. The team made the NBA Finals once but were bounced in an easy sweep. All the losses piled up and it led to a messy divorce.

For four years, LeBron was a villain, a catalyst if you will while playing in Miami. LeBron won two championships, but later said he felt he had unfinished business in Cleveland. It led to him returning home, leading the Cavs to four appearances in the NBA Finals and the 2016 championship. In a way, that title vindicated all of his past sins with the fans, but the team has been clamoring for a competitive team since he left for the Lakers in 2018.

Fans saw LeBron win a fourth ring in Los Angeles in 2020. It’s nothing but love for LeBron from fans in the city, but you know that deep down they want to run it back one more time. As long as LeBron is playing in the NBA, the city of Cleveland will always stay relevant even if he doesn’t play on the team. Given the relationship LeBron has had with this franchise since the start, wouldn’t the perfect ending be closing the door on his career in the place where it started?

A true fairy tale has a perfect ending. LeBron trying to win the title, with a very talented squad too, would be a true Cinderella finish to his career. Even if he doesn’t win a title, it would fulfill another dream to play with his son, Bronny. Coaching your kids is most parents’ hope. Playing in the NBA with your kid, now that’s the dream. 

Credit for an idea: Buckets/Instagram


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