Charles Barkley thinks LeBron should come back, says Cleveland has “great fans”

Because it never ends. We’re gonna be dealing with “LeBron could/should/might/won’t come back to the Cavs” stories until the minute he retires. And I’m willing to bet that we’ll see a few “LeBron should unretire and play for the Cavs” stories before all is said and done.

In an interview with CNN’s Rachel Nichols, Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Charles Barkley said that he thought LeBron should’ve stayed in Cleveland and that he should return as a free agent. He also said not to take anything he said seriously. From the Sun-Sentinal:

Barkley: “I thought LeBron shoulda stayed in Cleveland. Just ’cause he got them rings now, he ain’t no better. Think about the notion that, just because I didn’t win a sportin’ event, my life is not successful.  That’s gotta be the stupidest thing I ever heard.”

Nichols: “At the end of the year, he has the option to opt out in Miami. You want him back in Cleveland?”

Barkley: “I think it’d be great for him to go back to Cleveland. Number one, I don’t think they are great fans in Miami. I thought they were great fans in Cleveland.”

Nichols: “People in Miami already don’t like you; you’re gonna dig a deeper hole with this interview.”

Barkley: “I’m not digging a deeper — they’re not the — listen, those were the same fans who were leaving when they thought they had lost to the Spurs. So let’s don’t act like they’re super fans.”

That’s really the least interesting thing of the entire interview. Barkley goes on to talk about his relationship with Michael Jordan and his future plans to become an NBA GM in two year (You think Chris Grant lasts that long?? I’m not so optimistic).

Barkley says that LeBron isn’t better just because he has rings now. I guess that’s sorta true. But I’d argue that LeBron is better now simply cause he’s, um, better. Jacob has talked about shot charts in the past and LeBron’s is fairly insane. He’s simply a better basketball player right now than he ever was in Cleveland (which is saying something, because he was great here). Give Mike Brown, Danny Ferry and Gilbert all the crap you want, but if LeBron played like this as a Cavalier… *sigh*

The Cavs (9-13) are in Miami tonight looking for their first four game win streak in the Post-LeBron Era. They notched their second road win of the season on Friday night, when they beat the Magic 109-100. The Heat (16-6) are both well rested and coming off a loss, so the Cavs could be in the trouble. LeBron and company haven’t played since their 90-84 loss to the Pacers on Tuesday night.

[Related: On This LeBron James 2014 Nonsense].

  • Wow

    Barkley is right, those fans are pretty bad.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    If he comes back and the Cavs win a Championship. it will feel (for lack of a better word) cheap to me. Like it was done out of sympathy or some sad form of obligation. I want to win because we built a team and we earned it. Not because the best player in the world “felt bad” that he left the way he did and wanted to come back and try to make it right in his mind. If this makes me weird, so be it.

    Thanks, but no thanks, LeBron. I would rather beat you to win a title than have you on my team again.

  • ch

    Do you think Laker fans cared when Payton/Malone came to ride Kobe for a ring? No way. It’s an arms race in the NBA.

  • ch

    Do you think Laker fans cared when Payton/Malone came to ride Kobe for a ring? No way. It’s an arms race in the NBA.

  • Kildawg

    I would accept James returning to Cleveland and winning a championship. Last one we could celebrate as a city was before the Super Bowl. 50 years of not winning anything is a long time, especially when we’ve had 3 shots a year to do it.

  • Steve

    “but if LeBron played like this as a Cavalier”

    We probably wouldn’t notice much of a difference.He’s sacrificed some shots and a touch of usage to take better shots, in no small part to teammates that defenders show a lot more respect towards than Williams, Ilgauskas, and the rest.

    He’s leading the league in PER, something he did the last six seasons, three as a Cavalier. He’s been passed by Durant in WS and WS/48, but he lead the league in that the last five seasons, twice as a Cavalier. We had the clear, no-doubt-about-it, best player in the world. We just didn’t have the second piece.

  • saggy

    I’m sorry, but saberstats don’t work for me in basketball. I explained here a while back why that is but all I will say is: LOOK at the game. Do want LeBron or KD? LeBron is the best ever to play – I’m done with the Jordan stuff, LeBron is the best. KD is a great player but won’t go down in the same breath as the other two, stats or no stats.

  • Steve

    And “saberstats” say Lebron has been the best player in the game for 6+ seasons. 20 or so games this year is not enough of a sample size to say that KD’s true talent level has passed him. At the moment, the difference is only .006 WS/48. That can be flipped in just one game. There were 20 game stretches were someone played at the same level as Jordan as well. The issue here is understanding our sample sizes.