Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, who represents LeBron James, "has privately downplayed" the superstar parting ways with the Los Angeles Lakers when he becomes a free agent in 2023, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Paul told the Lakers that James remains committed to helping the franchise win another championship, Wojnarowski added. The report comes after James would not rule out a return to the Cleveland Cavaliers during an All-Star Weekend interview with The Athletic's Jason Lloyd.

“The door’s not closed on that,” James told Lloyd about a return to Cleveland. “I’m not saying I’m coming back and playing. I don’t know. I don’t know what my future holds. I don’t even know when I’m free.”

James' comments were likely sparked by his return to Cleveland for the All-Star Game. He grew up in Akron, Ohio, which is just a short distance from the city, and also spent 11 of his 19 NBA seasons with the Cavaliers. He feels a special connection with the city, and that was evident in his other comments during All-Star Weekend. 

He said, according to Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal:

“I speak to them almost every day,” James said of his childhood friends.