Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 1/11/13
DENVER _ LeBron James opened the door last year on returning to Cleveland. A former Cavaliers coach said he wouldn't be surprised if it happens. "I think LeBron is at that stage where he's challenging himself to motivate him to do something that's maybe more difficult," Denver coach George Karl told FOX Sports Florida before Friday's game against Cleveland at the Pepsi Center. "I could see him maybe doing that (returning to the Cavaliers)." Karl, who coached Cleveland from 1984-86, offered a primary reason why he could see a return by James, an Akron, Ohio, native who played for the Cavaliers from 2003-10 before bolting to Miami when he became a free agent. "I see (Kyrie) Irving maybe being a reason for that," Karl said of the reigning Rookie of the Year, who leads Cleveland in scoring with a 23.5 average. Irving, 20, is a rising star and has a good relationship with James. The two have known each other since James took Irving under his wing when the point guard was 15. It's been well chronicled the wrath Cleveland fans have had for James since he left in the summer of 2010. However, last February, in his third return to Cleveland with the Heat, James left the door open to a return. He can opt out of his contract and become a free agent as soon as the summer of 2014. "I don't know," James said at the time. "I think it would be great. It would be fun to play in front of these fans again. I had a lot fun times in my seven years here. You can't predict the future and hopefully I continue to stay healthy. I'm here as a Miami Heat player, and I'm happy where I am now, but I don't rule that out in no sense. And if I decide to come back, hopefully the fans will accept me. Told what Karl said about his belief James could return to Cleveland, Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said, "I have no comment on that." Only two players remain from James' time in Cleveland, center Anderson Varejao and guard Daniel Gibson. Varejao is out with a knee injury and was not with the team in Denver. Gibson wouldn't rule out a James return. "Anything is possible," Gibson said. "The fans are forgiving. Everybody should be forgiving. You never know." Gibson, though, said it's too far in the future that James can become a free agent to speculate. "That's so far down the line for anybody to make a decision or even try to feel like they can say yes or no," Gibson said. "Nobody knows." Gibson still talks by phone to James every now and then. But he said the possibility of James, who won his first championship last season, returning to Cleveland never has come up. "Occasionally, he'll check on me and see how I'm doing and the same goes for me," Gibson said. "It's mutual respect." James will make two Cleveland appearances this season. The Heat play there March 20 and April 15. Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter @christomasson
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Popovich praises Magic, wishes him well with Lakers

Report: Andrew Bogut likely to join Cavs after buyout

Report: Broncos expected to 'at least discuss' Romo

Report: Raiders don't expect to keep Latavius Murray

Report: Josh Hamilton needs another knee operation

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Ball's father says comment about Lakers was misquoted

Revis hints he is open to taking significant pay cut

Several NBA executives have concerns about Lonzo Ball’s father

Kim Mulkey gives awful post-game speech about Baylor scandal

Bill Walton goes shirtless during ESPN broadcast to the dismay of one woman

Sanu: Halftime show played role in Super Bowl collapse

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher who has recorded 10 or more shutouts in a single season

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker