Advertisement

LeBron James greeted with rousing ovation from Cavaliers fans while sitting courtside for Celtics game

It's been six seasons since LeBron James last suited up for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Cavs fans haven't forgotten.

With his Los Angeles Lakers eliminated from the playoffs, James showed up courtside in Cleveland alongside his wife Savannah and agent Rich Paul for Monday's Game 4 between the Cavaliers and Celtics. Boston won, 109-102.

During an early break in the action, the Cavaliers greeted James with a tribute on the video board. The Cavs' public-address announcer then introduced him as if he'd never left. Fans responded with a rousing ovation as if he was still a member of the team.

Fans throughout the arena stood up to celebrate the hometown hero who played two stints with the Cavaliers and delivered the franchise its first and only championship in 2016.

James soaked it all in and responded to the love by blowing kisses back to the crowd.

So is there potential for a third stint for James in Cleveland? Monday's love fest at Game 4 will fuel speculation as James approaches the offseason with an option to opt out of his Lakers contract. James maintains a home near his hometown in Akron and hadn't attended a Cavaliers game since leaving the team for a second time in 2018.

LeBron James' offseason of intrigue continued Monday with a visit to Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Dermer)
LeBron James' offseason of intrigue continued Monday with a visit to Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Dermer)

Where James lands β€” whether it's remaining with the Lakers or moving elsewhere β€” is one of the most anticipated decisions of the upcoming offseason. Cleveland fans would certainly welcome him back with open arms. As evidenced by their appearance in the second round of the playoffs, the Cavaliers have a competitive roster that James could elevate.

Observers also pointed to James showing up at a Cavs game a decade ago while he was with the Miami Heat. He then later signed with Cleveland.

Adding to the offseason intrigue is the status of James' son Bronny James, who is at the NBA Draft combine in Chicago and was medically cleared Monday to play in the NBA after experiencing cardiac arrest at USC last summer.

Bronny is expected to remain in the draft, and would be targeted by teams hoping to lure James this offseason. Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka was watching him in Chicago on Monday afternoon.

James, meanwhile, has remained mum about his plans other than statements shooting down media speculation and announcing that he hasn't made a decision.

Until he makes that decision, fans across the league β€” including those in Los Angeles and Cleveland β€” will be left to wait and hope.