LeBron James can become a free agent at the end of the 2013-14 season, but the Miami Heat star isn’t offering insight into The Decision, Part II.
“I have absolutely no idea. I would love to spend the rest of my career in Miami with this great team and great organization as we continue to compete for championships. That’s ideal,” James told ESPN.com. “But we don’t know what may happen from now to the end of the season. That’s the nature of the business. It’s the nature of not knowing what tomorrow brings.”
The Heat won their second consecutive NBA championship with James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh — who signed together when they were last free agents in 2010 — leading them past the San Antonio Spurs in a seven-game series. James, who announced his free agency destination that summer on July 8 in a made-for-TV special dubbed “The Decision,” said last season that he wants to remain with the Heat.
James took a lesser contract from the Heat in 2010 than he could’ve received to remain in Cleveland near his hometown of Akron. The Chicago Bulls, a team that met with each of the Heat’s Big Three that summer, could’ve also made a more lucrative offer.
This time around, it will be the Heat who can pay him more than any potential suitors. James isn’t yet ruling out anything, even the much-discussed possibility that he could return triumphantly to the Cavaliers.
“I mean, as a kid, I never thought the Bulls would break up. Never. If you’d of told me as a kid that (Michael) Jordan and (Scottie) Pippen wouldn’t play together for the rest of their lives, I’d have looked at you crazy,” James said. “And Phil Jackson wouldn’t be the coach? I’d have looked at you crazy. But sometimes the nature of the business doesn’t allow things to happen like you would want them to. But we’ll see.”
James, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Wade and Bosh headline the potential free agent class next summer.
“I owe it to myself, I owe it my teammates and I owe it to the Miami Heat to stay focused,” he said. “As a leader, I’m not even going to let that side of the business get me unfocused on what I’m trying to do and that’s trying to win another championship. I’m going to try to (stop the discussion about free agency), but you always have reporters who are going to always bring it up. They’re going to change the question and make it sound like something else. But it will get to a point, if I continue to hear it, where I will say, ‘Hey guys, I’ve answered the question and out of respect, let’s talk about this after the season.”’
Heat president Pat Riley said the two sides haven’t begun negotiations. But the architect of the Showtime Lakers is ready for James to hush the talk of an exodus with the possibility of a Heat three-peat looming.
“Our stance is the same we had with Wade in 2010, that we’re just going to play the season and not let that hang over our heads and become a distraction just because the media wants to get an answer on it every day,” Riley said in an ESPN interview. “I don’t know LeBron’s stance. He’ll probably say one time, ‘I’ll talk about it next year.’ We haven’t discussed it yet but we will. I’ll tell him the main thing is to make sure the main thing remains the main thing. And the main thing is to win the championship.”