He won't owe anyone here anything beyond his explanation. Any debts he had were paid in full when he led the Cavs to the franchise's only championship in 2016, and by the four consecutive Finals they reached on his back.
But James' own words in the run up to now, (he can become a free agent at midnight Sunday) told Clevelanders he was here for good this time.
Ever mindful of his legacy, James is going to have to walk his local fans through why he's leaving them for a second time, after he told them repeatedly he wouldn't.
"If he leaves again, he needs to do it in a way that is respectful of northeast Ohio and he needs to portray a transcendent cause that he plans to pursue," said Denise Bostdorff, an expert in rhetoric and Communication professor at the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, who studied James' messaging upon his first departure from Cleveland in 2010 and his return in 2014.
James, born and raised in Akron, has a $35.6 million option on his contract for next season that expires at 11:59 Friday night if he doesn't take action. He's expected to let the option go and become a free agent, and is said to be strongly considering the Los Angeles Lakers.
Sources close to him told cleveland.com that James' decision to join the Lakers would neither be clinched nor doomed by that franchise's ability to trade for Kawhi Leonard. So, at minimum, the LeBron-to-the-Lakers stuff has real merit.
If James picks the Lakers (or anyone else) over Cleveland, the reaction here is not expected to be as it was in 2010 when he left for the Miami Heat. If anyone burns his jersey, it will be viewed more like a YouTube stunt than an accurate representation of fans' feelings toward him.
In the four years since James returned, as mentioned, he's done nothing but author the finest four seasons of basketball this community has ever seen or probably will ever see.
There was the glorious run to the title in 2016, in which James unprecedentedly led the Cavs back from a 3-1 series deficit against the Warriors to win the city's first pro title since 1964.
There was the 2015 Finals, in which Cleveland lost the series, 4-2, despite missing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love to injury. LeBron was a one-man show in that series.
And there was this past season, when James played all 104 of Cleveland's games and posted arguably his best individual season.
"At the end of the day, I came back because I felt like I had some unfinished business," James said after Game 4 of the 2018 Finals, which ended with a Warriors' sweep. "To be able to be a part of a championship team two years ago with the team that we had and in the fashion that we had is something I will always remember.
"Honestly, I think we'll all remember that. It ended a drought for Cleveland of 50-plus years, so I think we'll all remember that in sports history."
This is the crux of the belief shared by James and his advisers, that he's been so good and so true to his obligations over the last four years in Cleveland, that leaving again won't have any impact on how his career is considered at home or abroad.
James told cleveland.com in April that his decision on free agency would be more about his family this time than ever before, ahead of winning, though he's also declared he still wants to win championships.
But on at least four occasions since James came back from Miami, he said he would finish his career with the Cavs and would not leave again as a free agent. The latest was in September, when he affirmed those were still his intentions.
Since, however, James and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert have jockeyed for position to blame the other in the event James left, whether it's roster deficiencies (Gilbert's fault, James wants you to believe) or the franchise being hamstrung by James' unwillingness to commit long term (Gilbert's view).
The NBA's offseason thrives on blockbuster player moves. The hype machine and fans outside of Cleveland have lusted for this moment when James might pick another city, be it L.A. or Philadelphia.
But James' own wording (and that of his business partners) tied him tighter to Cleveland than even his declaration to want to stay here for the rest of his career.
According to research conducted by Wooster's Bostdorff and Daniel O'Rourke, a professor communication professor at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio, James' own messaging has depicted him as a Messianic-like figure whose return in 2014 was akin to the biblical parable of the prodigal son.
Bostdorff and O'Rourke also said James, through his essay in Sports Illustrated that announced his return, portrayed himself as the forgiving father (pardoning Gilbert for the nasty letter he published when James left).
James said: "I feel my calling here (Cleveland) goes above basketball." He said he wanted the children enrolled in his LeBron James Family Foundation — with the mission of improving reading and graduation rates for at-risk students at Akron Public Schools — to "realize that there is no better place to grow up."
In the fall of 2014, or the run-up to James' first game with the Cavs, his commercial sponsors played up the same angles. Beats by Dre's commercial hailed James' homecoming in part by showing him working out at Akron's St. Vincent-St. Mary High (his alma mater) to the song "Take me to Church."
Nike's famous "Together" commercial showed James and the Cavs gathering on the court, as people from the stands and then all of northeast Ohio joined arms over his return.
This is the message that LeBron and his business partners have hit the people of Cleveland with over the head, time and again, for four years.
So, could God...err...LeBron really walk away from his people, again?
"He has to make his decision about something beyond just him wanting to be on a team that will allow him to win championships," Bostdorff said to cleveland.com.
"Is he going somewhere with the goal of helping to make professional basketball more competitive? Is he attempting to meet a new 'challenge' in entertainment, along with basketball, that will allow him to create more opportunities for people of color like those in Akron?"