LeBron James and his courtship are back in the Valley but under far different circumstances than a year ago.
This year there was no viral post-practice dunk contest.
Just a surly King James who jabbed at the media a bit when pressed if he thought he’d be ready to return to game action Tuesday when the slumping Cavs take on the Suns at Talking Stick Arena.
“I’m a game-time decision,” James told the assembled media Monday afternoon after Cleveland wrapped up practice at Grand Canyon University. “As of right now, hopefully my body reacts really well [Tuesday]. I’m going to get some more treatment…and see what happens.”
The 19-19 Cavs, losers of five-straight, are hoping the return of James’ jumpstarts the talented club which is just 1-8 in their last nine games. Multiple injuries forced James to take off a couple of weeks but Cleveland’s recent slide may expedite the process a bit if embattled head coach David Blatt gets a thumbs up on James’ health.
James will face a Suns’ team which made a run at him last summer during his free-agency courtship before ultimately deciding to return to his former team.
“They present a lot challenges,” James said of Phoenix. They have three point guards that put extensive pressure of your defense in [Eric] Bledsoe, [Goran] Dragic and Isaiah Thomas. The Morris’ twins continue to play well.”
The 22-18 Suns are coming off tough back-to-back losses to San Antonio and Memphis which spoiled a 4-0 stretch to open 2015.
Certainly Cleveland, currently sixth in the Eastern Conference playoff standings, has plenty of work to do with the stretch run of the season a handful of weeks away.
“We’re not ready to win a seven-game series,” James lamented. “We’re nowhere ready to compete in the post-season with our struggles as of late. We need to get back to our winning ways.”
Tipoff Tuesday is set for 7:00 from downtown Phoenix.