There is turmoil in La La Land and it has led a famous Los Angeles-based podcast host to suggest LeBron James could return home again to finish his NBA career.
During Wednesday’s episode of “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” Simmons predicted that an NBA reporter would write a story about how James could become a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers for what would be the third time in his career.
Simmons said the fictitious story would leak in the next three weeks or so.
“Somebody will write ‘Don’t be surprised if LeBron finishes his career in Cleveland,’” Simmons said. “And, it will be (an) unnamed source.”
Simmons outlined some of the reasons he thinks James could return to Cleveland, which includes the talent of rookie forward Evan Mobley, finishing his NBA career where he started it, his Lakers contract expiring in 2023, and the fact his son Bronny James graduates high school in 2023.
Also, Simmons suggested James could get a major ownership stake in the Cavaliers after his retirement as a player.
NBA writer and fellow Ringer podcast host Wosny Lambre said it would be less surprising for James to return to Cleveland again compared to July 11, 2014.
“People don’t remember ‘The Decision’ and the Dan Gilbert stuff and how extremely toxic that was,” Lambre said.
It’s rare for an NBA player to have three separate stints with a single team, and it never happens with a star player.
Point guard Avery Johnson had played for the San Antonio Spurs in 1991, 1992-1993 and again from 1994-2001.
Also, point guard Kevin Ollie played for the Philadelphia 76ers from 1999-2000, 2000-2001 and again from 2004-2008.
As of Thursday morning, the Lakers’ 12-11 record has them sitting in sixth place of the Western Conference.
Lambre said he thinks James is rooted in Los Angeles.
“I’m not saying this will actually happen,” Simmons said. “I’m just saying as a story, that becomes a story for two to three days that gets floated out as the red herring.”
The Lakers are limited in what player upgrades they can make in the next two seasons, especially considering Russell Westbrook is due to make $44.21 million this season and $47.06 million next season.
“Who takes Westbrook? Nobody,” Simmons said. “Poor Frank Vogel. He’s like, ‘Wait, wait you’re blaming me? What did I do? You guys traded for Russell Westbrook, you got rid of (Alex) Caruso, you got rid of everybody I had that could defend anyone. It’s my fault?’”
In the 2020-21 regular season, the Lakers’ defensive rating of 106.8 was the NBA’s best.
— Isaiah Wilhite (@isaiah_wilhite) December 1, 2021
In the 2019-20 season, the Lakers’ defensive rating of 106.1 ranked third-best in the league.
“They were fun to watch on defense,” Lambre said.
Caruso is with the Chicago Bulls, while Caldwell-Pope and Kuzma play for the Washington Wizards.
“The Caruso thing is just… I think I’m going to be saying this (on) every podcast from now until kingdom come, it was unconscionable,” Lambre said. “The Lakers are complete idiots for letting Caruso walk.”
Also, the Lakers entered the 2021-22 season with the oldest roster in the league: The average age for a Lakers player is 30 years old.