As we reported earlier this summer, the 2014 LeBron James free agency will be the talk of much of the season. Despite a quest for another championship, the conversation will continue to be about next year. And LeBron will not escape that, and he knows it.
LeBron talked with ESPN again about it, and he hopes it won't continue to be the discussion. James said, "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."'
So when LeBron was asked about his thoughts on his pending opportunity for free agency next summer, here where his replies:
"I have absolutely no idea," James recently told ESPN.com. "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. 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."
"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. 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."
"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."
As fans, our hope is that James can focus on this season and that he is successful. It sounds like LeBron is being very realistic. He's understanding all he can control right now is this season, and hopefully things turn out great and his best chance to win is to remain here. But he also sounds like one who is saying, if this team deteriorates then it may be best for me to go somewhere else. It's understandable, LeBron.
What we would like to see this season - LeBron doing exactly what he says he will, answering it once as he has and pointing back to that answer over and over. There really isn't room to discuss this until the season is over, and hopefully the reporters don't wear James down until he breaks at them.
One of the most encouraging statements out of that discussion is James' voicing his desire to remain in Miami. Which means, if Pat Riley does his job well, then he has LeBron James locked up.
Pat Riley said concerning James and free agency, "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."
That's the goal. Win a championship and deal with the rest later. And when I say deal with the rest later, I mean let Pat Riley be Pat Riley. Be prepared Heat fans, it will continue. Let's hope James handles it professionally.
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