Will LeBron leave Cleveland…again?

When LeBron James signed his two-year contract with Cleveland, everybody saw it as a way to get more money when the new TV deal hits and the salary cap skyrockets. But now, after two frustrating years, will LeBron say goodbye to Cleveland once again?

When LeBron decided to make his return to Cleveland, he was a hero. He was supposed to be the man that could finally bring the city a championship. In his first year, he was close—making it to the NBA Finals only to be outmanned by the Golden State Warriors. This year, his Cavalier team will be going into the playoffs as the number one team in the East. But for LeBron, every year is championship or bust. So could another loss push him over the edge and make him consider free agency and once again abandoning Cleveland?


If Cleveland isn’t able to pull out a Finals win this season, LeBron will have to, at minimum, consider the idea of leaving. LeBron is one of the most talented players to ever live, so when he gets looked back on there’s one stat that will matter more than any other, championship wins. James needs to win multiple rings if he ever wants to be considered one of the greats like Jordan and Kobe. Can LeBron win multiple rings with this current Cleveland squad? If he feels like he can, he will stay. But if he doesn’t, he may need to take his talent elsewhere.


Another consideration for James, is whether or not his brand can handle another major publicity hit. When James left Cleveland the first time, he was instantly portrayed as a villain. LeBron was able to handle and even embrace that persona. But if LeBron once again abandons the city that raised him, he would instantly become one of the most hated players in any major sport. This won’t just hurt his feelings, but also his bank account.

With an unhappy superstar hitting the free agent market, teams around the league are going to be preparing to write checks and make promises that Cleveland may not be able to match. The only way Cleveland can guarantee they keep their superstar is to win the NBA Championship. But with Golden State having a historic season, that is much easier said than done.

– Michael Hersey