LeBron James says feeling of wanting to finish career in Cleveland ‘hasn’t changed’

Does LeBron James really want to stay in Cleveland? Nick Wright, Cris Carter and Jenna Wolfe examine his offseason moves to see if what he says is actually true.

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- I think it is on the board that he leaves for LA, but just because something is on the board doesn't mean it's likely. The-- if the Cavs win the title he's not leaving, period, point blank.

JENNA WOLFE: Are you sure?

- Nobody leaves a defending champion unless they retire. Like when's the last time a guy was the best player on a team that won the title, and then left that team in free agency? That doesn't happen. And the Cavs, we know they're going to be in the finals. They actually could win the title.

CHRIS CARTER: Jenna, you asked a question, and Nick can't answer this. He is not sure. All right? And a lot--

- Do you mean Nick or LeBron?

- You.

- OK.

- You're not sure.

- Yeah.

- All right? He can't answer that. And at this point, LeBron, you have to take him at his word that he doesn't have plans to leave. But we as sports fans, as journalists, like if we didn't connect the dots, like we wouldn't be doing our job.

Yeah, a lot of people have homes and everything. But when you start looking at schools, which mean are you going to do a half a year? Because I've done this. My kids went to Minnesota for half a year, in the schools there, the teachers correspond with the schools in South Florida. But when you start thinking about where your kids are gonna get educated, you're not basically thinking about a half a year. It takes more planning, because you don't want to break up their education.

Now LeBron, they have enough money in the NBA, these players, that they can live wherever they want to live. Los Angeles is a spot, because-- not only because the weather-- because they can get run. They can get NBA caliber talent to the gym. That's another reason why people like to go to LA. LeBron, from a business standpoint, all right? Movies, all right, he's very interested in the movie industry and entertainment industry, so LA would be a spot for him.

But LeBron James has committed himself to Cleveland when he came back. We have to believe in what he said yesterday that he's not making plans to leave. Now, LeBron has orchestrated his contract in such a special way, even when he went to Miami, that there was always a chance that he could leave. And until LeBron says, I'm leaving, we have to think that he's going to stay in Cleveland.

- It's also in his best interest to not even say anything or address it, or deal with it in any fashion, until the summer for maximum leverage, for himself, which is something that he's going to factor in. This is an entirely hypothetical conversation.

- He's gonna have-- Jenna, he's going to have maximum leverage no matter what. Like the maxim leverage is built into the equation with him. But this is how he's handled free agency every year. Every year that he's been a pending free agent, he's never discussed it he's never talked about it during the year. And according to all reports, he's never made up his mind until the end of the season leading into it.

When he went into-- when he went to Miami, the first time, the story was 24 hours before the decision--

CHRIS CARTER: Yes.

- --he didn't know what he was doing. We all know that when he went to Cleveland-- when he went back to Cleveland, had the heat completed a three peat, he's not leaving. They're in the final. What?

- I disagree. He got so much flak for leaving Cleveland. I think, if he ever is going to leave Cleveland, there is no better way and time to do it than giving them another championship and saying, I did everything I can here. Now I'm--

NICK WRIGHT: Why would he leave?

- --going to pursue Other things, and play in Los Angeles. Because he because he likes it out there. You talked about it. Quality of life, good schools, his business, his friends.

Look at the roster he could put together if he wants to, Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins, Russell Westbrook, Lonzo Ball. They could put a good team together. He could do something there that he did in Miami, and he did in Cleveland. That would be great. That's a reason.

- OK, you just mentioned a bunch of players who are not--

CHRIS CARTER: That's reason enough.

- --currently on the Lakers, so if we-- I'd love to play the make believe game.

- That's what this whole conversation is.

- No, I'd love to. I'd love to play the make believe game.

So this week we're probably going to hear Dwayne Wade is going to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers. I imagine that's going to happen.

- Yes, he's one of four teams.

- The Cavs, also, I do not believe they acquired that Brooklyn pick, so they could have a future past LeBron. I believe they acquired that Brooklyn pick so they could bolster their present with LeBron. So if we're talking about potential teams that we put together, so how about the Cavs this year?

If Dwayne Wade signed with them, this trade works. We can put it on the screen. Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye, and that Brooklyn pick for DeMarcus Cousins. Why would the Pelicans do that? Because DeMarcus has one year left on his deal. Nobody thinks he's staying in New Orleans with the awkward fit of he and Anthony Davis. They would want to get something back for him. If that trade happens, let's see what the Cavs would look like this season. Not next year, in the future, this season.

There's your starting lineup, Isaiah, Dwayne, LeBron, Kevin Love, Boogie. There's five all stars, four of which are playing at an all-star level-- sorry, Dwayne-- with a backup of Derrick Rose, Jerry Smith, Kyle Korver, Jae Crowder, Jason Thompson. That team wins the title.

- Just so I'm clear, you can play hypotheticals?

- No.

- You have a fancy graphic? I could've put together a graphic. How do I get a graphic?

- (LAUGHING) No. No.

- I need a graphic!

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