The LeBron-To-Cleveland Rumors Are Really Gaining Steam

Tony Manfred
Business Insider
lebron james
lebron james

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

LeBron James' agent has given the Cleveland Cavaliers hope that the free agent forward would be willing to sign there, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports.

Over the last 24 hours rumors of LeBron returning to Cleveland have been gaining steam.

ESPN's Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst report that Rich Paul, LeBron's agent, has already met with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert. Gilbert famously wrote a strongly worded, Comic Sans-fonted letter just hours after LeBron left for Miami in 2010, but LeBron is now "increasingly considering the Cavaliers as an option," according to ESPN.

For what it's worth, the Cavaliers' website finally took down the Gilbert letter late Sunday night, Deadspin's Barry Petchesky points out.

Despite the history there, Wojnarowski called going back to Cleveland "something of a mission" for LeBron. He still has a house outside Akron, where he grew up.

ESPN's Chris Broussard hopped in and stoked the rumors with this series of tweets:

Cleveland has replaced Miami as my frontrunner to land LeBron James...

— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 7, 2014

I'm not saying LJ to Cavs is done deal or I know 4 a fact; just my gut feeling based on many conversations I've had around this story...

— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 7, 2014

These convos aren't sourced enough 4 me to report as fact. But I've heard enough to believe "the wind is blowing" LJ back home. We'll see...

— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 7, 2014

There remain significant obstacles toward LeBron going back to Cleveland.

The Cavs would have to shed about $11 million in salary to clear enough cap room to give LeBron a maximum salary starting at ~$20 million, assuming Miami isn't willing to make a sign-and-trade.

Getting rid of Jarrett Jack's $6.3-million deal and a few smaller contracts would accomplish that. 

LeBron would also have to be willing to take less money. Since Cleveland can only give him a four-year deal with 4.5% annual raises, he'd be leaving $33 million on the table by leaving Miami.

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