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 to 1986, offered a primary reason why he could see a return by James, an Akron, Ohio, native who played for the Cavaliers from 2003 to 2010 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. "I don't know, man," Irving said when told what Karl said. "Until it happens, I won't really have a reaction to it." When asked if he ever would like to play with James, Irving said, "We'll see." It's been well-chronicled the wrath Cleveland fans have had for James since he left in summer 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 summer 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 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

Byron Scott: D’Angelo Russell’s immaturity ‘at times’ a problem

Kevin Love: Shoulder injury ‘just a stinger’

Nets’ Joe Johnson would ‘welcome’ a trade

Report: Grizzlies want Kevin Durant in free agency

WATCH: Karl-Anthony Towns throws down monster dunk

Dos Anjos: McGregor will 'break like a girl' at UFC 196

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

WATCH: D'Angelo Russell hit in groin by LeBron pass

Kobe Bryant has great response to Tyronn Lue story

Report: St. Louis Blues no longer interested in Jonathan Drouin

Doc Rivers: Warriors have 'swagger' of defending champion

Damian Lillard added as a finalist for 2016 U.S. Olympic Team

Celtics legend Paul Pierce prepares for what ‘could be’ his last game in Boston

Seven teams that must target a quarterback in 2016 NFL draft

Fighter says sex before fight partly to blame for loss

Kevin McHale: James Harden being out of shape hurt Rockets early

WATCH: Kevin Love re-injures left shoulder

Johnny Manziel’s grandpa on ex-girlfriend: ‘The girl has her problems’

Andy Dalton reunited with missing luggage thanks to social media

Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson used to soak his ankles in urine

Why Tom Thibodeau needs to be in New York

Defensemen in high demand as NHL trade deadline looms

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Security guard indicted for assaulting University of Houston football fan

The LeBron-Kobe rivalry and Finals matchup that never was

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

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

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