Brian Windhorst hints at Cavs positioning to land LeBron James next offseason

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ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst hinted that the Cleveland Cavaliers could be positioning themselves to make a run at superstar LeBron James next offseason.

James, who is in the final season of his contract with the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2022-23 campaign, could potentially return for a third stint with Cleveland.

The Cavs will have a ton of cap space to make a run at James, but it also could be a moot point if the superstar signs an extension with the Lakers prior to the 2022-23 season.

The Cavs drafted James with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, and he has a long history with the franchise.

After leaving for the Miami Heat at the end of the 2009-10 season, James eventually returned to Cleveland and helped lead the team to four consecutive trips to the NBA Finals. The Cavs won the 2016 NBA Finals, snapping a major championship drought for professional sports teams in Cleveland.

The Cavs have a solid young core right now with Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley and Darius Garland. James returned to Cleveland originally to play with Kyrie Irving, and Windhorst thinks the Cavs may have a better team this time around.

“They have this growing young team,” Windhorst said. “In fact, the team that they have right now is more potent than the team that they had that he returned to in 2014.”

Cleveland nearly made the playoffs in the 2021-22 season, but it was knocked out in the play-in tournament after losing back-to-back games.

The Cavs could accelerate their playoff and championship timeline by bringing in James, who was fantastic in the 2021-22 season for the Lakers.

James, a four-time NBA champion, averaged 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game while shooting 52.4 percent from the field and 35.9 percent from beyond the arc.

A lot could change in the coming months that could change the path for a reunion between James and the Cavs, but it appears it is a possibility for the time being.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.