Tonight, LeBron James will return to the Quicken Loans Arena for the second time in a different jersey. Tonight, he will face the Cleveland Cavaliers for the first time as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The three-time champion signed a four-year, $153.3 million deal with the Lakers in the summer. Fans, critics, and analyst marveled over the signing but questioned how this move would equate to a championship. Magic Johnson, who is the Lakers’ president of basketball operations, made it a priority to speak with James at his house once the clock struck 12:01 AM.

Los Angeles Lakers: 2018 Summer Recap

Once the Lakers landed James, both Johnson and Rob Pelinka, who is the Lakers general manager, began to surround their superstar with some interesting names. Over the course of the summer, the team signed some notable names in JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, and Michael Beasley.

Lakers, LeBron James

After signing some of the names, basketball critics struggled to see the vision that Pelinka and Johnson shared. It seemed as if James still had a better shot of reaching the finals if he stayed in Cleveland.

Currently, the Lakers hold an 8-7 record, which places them in the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

Prior to signing with the Lakers this summer, the three-time Finals MVP took the Cavaliers to four consecutive NBA finals. Not to mention, he ended a 52-year championship drought in the city of Cleveland and won the franchise their first title.

Entering tonight’s game, expect fans to give James a standing ovation for bringing home a championship to Cleveland. LBJ can become a free agent in 2021 (if he opts out) or 2022. At the end of 2022, he will turn 37.

At this point in time, it is hard to predict whether or not the 33-year-old will win a title with the Lakers. If James does not win a title in L.A., will he return to Cleveland to finish his career?

LeBron James

What Would Michael Jordan Do?

Obviously, anything is possible and James could very well return to Cleveland to finish his career. One thing to consider is that Michael Jordan played until he was 40 years old. With that in mind, you can’t compare how many seasons the two have played.

Jordan played 15 seasons and James is playing his 16th season. MJ played three seasons at the University of North Carolina (UNC). On the other hand, LBJ declared for the NBA straight out of high school. Despite what King James may say in his interviews he is still chasing the shadow of Jordan.

If MJ played until he was 40 years old, chances are James might try to in order to advance on the all-time scoring list. In his last season with the Washington Wizards, Jordan averaged 20 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game. He also played 36.9 minutes per game and played all 82 games in his final season.

LeBron James, Lakers

Over the course of LBJ’s career, he has done an exceptional job of taking care of his body. If he continues to take care of his body, it is possible that he will play until he is 40. In today’s NBA, players have started to take control of the market and dictating where they go and for how long.

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With the upcoming talent in the league and the fact that the Cavaliers look like they will be repeat offenders in the draft lottery, he may be able to return to a loaded team.

There Is No Place Like Home

The first time James left Cleveland was in the summer of 2010. You might remember the one hour ESPN special that was labeled “The Decision.” Although King James decided to take his talents to the Miami Heat, it was clear that he would miss Ohio.

lebron james

Prior to making the decision, he pleaded with Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert to provide him with some premier talent. However, Gilbert continued to add players who were out of their prime. James led the Cavaliers to their first NBA Finals appearance in 2007 during his first stint with the franchise.

Unfortunately, Shannon Brown, Daniel Gibson, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and company were no match for the seasoned San Antonio Spurs. Gilbert could have avoided losing his franchise player if he would have been willing to add younger talent around James.

History Repeats Itself

History has a way of repeating itself. King James would return to Cleveland in 2014 to finish what he started. He would lead the Cavs to the finals but would come up short. After losing the series 2-4 against the Golden State Warriors, the King would come back to defeat the Warriors in the 2016 NBA finals with the help of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.

LeBron james

After winning the 2016 finals, things went downhill in Cleveland as the team would lose to the Warriors in the next two finals. Similar to 2007, the Cavaliers front office struggled to acquire big name free agents and retain help. Irving would request a trade before the start of the season 2017-18, which blindsided LBJ. Prior to the trade deadline of the 2017-18 season, the team blew up the entire roster.

Nonetheless, the move didn’t really impress James all that much. Even though James left for Hollywood, the Cavaliers will always be a choice because of the legacy that he built. Each time the King left, it circled back to the Cavs’ poor management and the lack of appreciation they had for the hometown hero.

Finishing the Legacy

Anything is possible, including the King finishing his career where he started. The 33-year-old will come back to Cleveland because of what the franchise means to him. Think about it, he was drafted to his hometown team and received immense pressure to win a title.

lebron james

Over the years, LeBron has given away scholarships, bikes, food, and education opportunities in the city of Akron. This summer, the 6-foot-8 forward opened up an elementary school for kids in Akron. Despite his answers at the podium, the departure from the Cavs meant more than you think. At the end of the day, it’s just business and bringing James back at the end of his career could generate sales.

If the St. Vincent-St. Mary’s product does not win another ring, his career will still be cemented. Despite Gilbert’s lack of compassion at times, he would welcome the idea of the chosen one coming back home to wrap up his career. For the King, it’s more than just basketball. It’s about bringing light and energy to his city.

The fact that James has a high I.Q. will allow him to play past 37. When it’s all said and done, his banner will be raised in the Quicken Loans Arena, but it would be nice to see him lace up his shoes one more time as a member of the Cavaliers. As of now, the forward is averaging 28.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 6.9 assists.