By Ira Winderman
South Florida Sun Sentinel
10:05 AM EDT, July 1, 2014
Will he or won't he? Having already made one dramatic move in free agency, when he left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat in July 2010, LeBron James again is testing the NBA's free-agency waters.
Will he or won't he?
The difference this time around is James is now a two-time defending NBA champion, with the Heat having won titles in 2012 and 2013, advancing to the NBA Finals in each of James' four seasons in South Florida.
Will he or won't he?
The answer will come soon enough, with just about everyone having an opinion. To that end, the Sun Sentinel offers a regularly updated look at the LeBron speculation across the Web.
July 1, 2014
Cavs still poised for pitch to James
While the early buzz from NBA free agency is that LeBron James does not initially plan any face-to-face meetings with potential outside suitors, the Cavaliers apparently still have hopes for a reunion.
The Akron Beacon Journal reports Cleveland already has a plan in place to pounce:
"The Cavs privately feel they can separate themselves in two key areas: This area is still home to him, and [owner] Dan Gilbert is willing to cut any check necessary to help the team win.
"The Cavs know how much James and his wife, Savannah, love being in Northeast Ohio. He spends plenty of time at his Bath home in the summer, and the Cavs will try to convince him of the merits to return here permanently.
"Perhaps more importantly, they'll try to sell him on Gilbert’s deep pockets. The history between Gilbert and James is all-too-well documented. Gilbert's letter in the hours after James' departure four years ago did significant damage to the relationship, but what can't be denied is Gilbert’s willingness to spend.
"If given the opportunity, the Cavs will remind James how the Heat parted ways with Mike Miller last summer in what was strictly a cost-cutting move."
The complete story can be found here.
June 14, 2014
Chandler Parsons says LeBron will leave
Appearing on ESPN's SportsNation, Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons, the former University of Florida star, says he believes the lack of a 2014 NBA title will have LeBron James leaving the Heat this offseason.
"I think if they would have won the championship, it would have been a different story, and they would have came back to do it again," Parsons said. "But he's got so much responsibility, he's obviously one of the best players, if not the best player, so I think them losing will make him make a move and opt out and you'll see him in a different jersey next year."
Asked to confirm that thought, Parsons said, "I just don't think he'll be back on the Heat. I think he's done all he can do there and I think it’s time for him to move on."
So where does he see James instead landing?
"I can't see the Lakers," he said. "I honestly can't. I could see him maybe going back to Cleveland. I could see that."
The irony is that Chandler's Houston Rockets could be a major player in free agency this offseason, already linked to a possible run at Carmelo Anthony, a potential free agent.
The video of the interview can be found here.
May 25, 2014
LeBron expert doesn't see Cleveland return
Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Terry Pluto, who has authored books on LeBron James, is among those downplaying any chance of James returning this summer to the Cavaliers.
In his Sunday column, Pluto wrote:
"James is 29. The reason that he left for Miami was to begin winning titles. He has two, and would love to pile up more. The six owned by Michael Jordan certainly is a reasonable goal. Never forget that James wore No. 23 in high school and in his days with the Cavs. That was Jordan's number . . .
"Exactly how does coming to Cleveland fit that goal? The Cavs are looking for another coach. They haven't been close to the playoffs since James left. Hard to imagine him embracing any sort of building plan, even one close to his Akron home . . .
"My sense is the Cavs are not spending much time dreaming about a LBJ return."
The complete column can be found here.
May 14, 2014
Calipari would love to coach LeBron, just not now
So let's see: The Cavaliers have a coaching vacancy, John Calipari might yet return to the NBA sidelines from his job at Kentucky, and LeBron James has spoken of one day possibly again playing in Cleveland.
Still, at least for now, Calipari doesn't see the pieces adding up, even with that Cleveland coaching vacancy and with James' impending early-player-termination decision.
Calipari addressed the possibilities Wednesday with Cleveland.com:
"Are you kidding me. Have a chance to coach the best player in the world? Yes, I would love to coach him. But what's happened is our careers are criss-crossing without crossing.
"I'm not in a position where I would leave Kentucky right now. I'm not sure whether this is his last contract, or his next-to-last contract. But I would tell you if I had a chance to, I would absolutely.''
Calipari went on to say:
"You'd have a chance to say, 'I coached here, I coached here and I coached Derrick Rose and I coached LeBron James.' Are you kidding me? To know he's all about championship. He's all about family. He will defer. He will give up money. He'll do whatever he has to.
"Yes, I would love to coach him. But early in his career I said maybe that would happen happen someday, but as we both get older it doesn't appear that it will happen. But he and I have never discussed it.''
The full story can be found here.
April 2, 2014
Wade says decisions remain on hold
Talk about James' ultimate decision has been on hold since the preseason. So, apparently, are plans to hash things out in advance of free agency between James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, with all three holding early-termination options.
In an interview for a piece in ESPN the Magazine, Wade said the future has yet to be broached by the three.
"I'm at a position where I don't really have to worry about it," Wade said. "I've been with the same organization for now 11 years. We've won multiple championships, so it's no reason where I need to think about that yet. I'm not at a point where we are a bad team and I need to think about the future, so right now I'm really focused on just enjoying this team, enjoying our quest to try to three-peat.
"And when the season is over, and whatever happens, then I will sit down with Chris and I will sit down with Bron and I will sit down and make the best decision for myself and my family."
He continued, "When we sat down and we signed our deals and all of us made sure we had an opt out in that fourth year, that was our option, so the option is there and you would hope that someone wants to be able to use their option as a player.
"As players, you only have so much time and you only have so many moments where you have the ability to control your own fate, so it's not a bad thing at all if that's what someone is thinking. I haven't had that conversation with Chris. I haven't had that conversation with Bron."
The piece at ESPN.com can be found here.
March 15, 2014
Could Jackson lure LeBron to New York?
The New York Daily News is postulating that the arrival of Phil Jackson to the Knicks' front office could give New York what it didn't have in July 2010: a legitimate shot at landing LeBron James as a free agent.
From a piece by columnist Frank Isola:
"Dolan and Jackson can dream big. Heat executives, according to a source, are not convinced that James will stay, though in their heart of hearts they believe he will re-sign. But Jackson's arrival changes things.
"There's no way LeBron would have gone to New York under the current climate," said a James confidant. "He had a falling-out with CAA [agency] and that was a problem as well. But with Phil there I think he will look at it."
The full piece can be found here.
March 9, 2014
LeBron with Carmelo with Knicks in 2015?
Sam Smith, the longtime Chicago Bulls beat writer who now writes for Bulls.com, on Sunday, in advance of the Heat's game at the United Center, tossed out the possibility of LeBron deferring his free-agency decision until the 2015 offseason and then joining Carmelo Anthony in New York.
"2015 is the big free agent summer teams are preparing for. Why not play it out one more season as probably still the favorite -- any team that has James likely is these days—and then consider the options.
"Say Anthony signs his long term extension with the Knicks this summer, which many believe will occur. After next summer, the contracts of Amare Stoudemire, Andre Bargnani and Tyson Chandler will expire. That would give the Knicks salary cap space for a maximum deal for someone like James and enough money for another free agent with further additions like, finally, a draft pick and another exception. Given that money and luxury tax seems to remain of little concern in New York, the Knicks could begin to load up around LeBron and Anthony. Who really would have a better pair?"
The full piece can be found here.
February 16, 2014
Cavs owner doesn't regret letter about LeBron
You Might recall the letter Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert sent to Cavaliers fans in the immediate wake of James' July 2010 free-agency departure to the Heat.
If you don't, it read, in part:
"You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.
"I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE. You can take it to the bank.
"I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our 'motivation' to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.
"Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.
"The self-declared former 'King' will be taking the 'curse' with him down south. And until he does 'right' by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma. Just watch."
Or LeBron would go on to win back-to-back titles with the Heat in 2012 and '13.
So what does Gilbert think about the letter now, with LeBron potentially a free agent in July?
Sunday, Akron's Beacon Journal ran a Q&A with the Cavaliers owner.
The latest exchange:
Q: I can’t sit down with the owner of the Cavaliers and not ask a LeBron question. What kind of relationship do you have with him now, if any, and have you had any communication with him since he left?
A: I just can’t get into that because he’s under contract to another team.
Q: How about The Letter? As a whole, do you regret sending it?
A: I would've reworded the language in The Letter, but I don't regret sending a letter out to our fan base. People forget the letter was not to LeBron, it was to our fan base. If I had to do it again, for sure, I would've reworded several parts of it. But I think it definitely needed a strong statement from me at that time. . . . .
Q: Were you surprised by the reaction? Did you know it would cause that type of firestorm?
A: No, not to the extent that it did. I didn't think it would. Going back now and looking, yeah probably. But at the time? I didn’t think it would become sort of the thing that it did.
The full interview can be found here.
February 5, 2014
ESPN linking James to Clippers
So ESPN has Heat-Clippers on Wednesday night. So what better time than to link LeBron with good friend Chris Paul, amid the ongoing uncertainty about James' potential offseason free agency?
From the piece at ESPN.com:
"The Clippers will not have open cap space. They will not have the cap space to sign James as a maximum-level free agent. It would require a sign-and-trade if James ever got serious about the option. In short, it would take the Heat's cooperation. . . .
"If the results of this season ended up with James looking at the Clippers and the Heat were eventually forced to cooperate, league executives believe Miami would ask for Blake Griffin. . . .
"The James contingency has been examined by the Clippers, sources told ESPN. The Heat, one of the most thorough and thoughtful organizations in the league, are quite aware the Clippers could end up being a competitor if James elects to opt out. Perhaps the most serious competitor of all."
The full report can be found here.
February 2, 2014
Cleveland turning into disaster area
The notion of Cleveland standing as a preferred 2014 offseason destination, for LeBron or any free agent, never has seemed more distant.
Sunday provided additional anecdotal evidence about how anarchy seemingly has become the rule in the Cavaliers locker room.
From the Akron Beacon Journal:
"The rumbles within the Cavaliers locker room have been growing louder for weeks. Players who initially didn't want to talk about what is plaguing this team are beginning to open up, and most of the issues are pointing back to guards Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, along with an unhappiness with Mike Brown and his staff."
Included in the piece is this:
" 'It's pretty much a mess,' one source close to the team said."
The Cavaliers, who went all-in on making the playoffs this season, are 16-31, 11th in the Eastern Conference.
The full report can be found here.
January 12, 2014
Cavs can have visions of Deng . . . and LeBron
Apparently not even visions of re-signing recent trade acquisition Luol Deng would preclude the Cavaliers from also making a free-agency run at LeBron James.
But Cleveland would have to make choices.
For those who think LeBron speculation is over in Cleveland, think again.
Per Sunday's Akron Beacon Journal:
"It's a Jordan-from-the-free-throw-line-sized leap, of course, to assume James wants to return to a team that enters Sunday’s game at Sacramento 10 games under .500, but for the sake of this argument, let’s assume he does indeed have an interest in returning to Cleveland.
"The Cavs, at least theoretically, could fit both Deng and James under their salary cap next season, but it's going to take a lot of work. And it might come down to which would the Cavs (or James) prefer -- Deng or the duo of Jarrett Jack and Anderson Varejao? They won’t be able to keep them all.
"Deng and James play the same position, but both are so talented they shouldn't have much of an issue playing together if the opportunity occurred. Besides, James can play about anywhere on the court.
"Assuming the Cavs are willing to give Deng $14 million a year and assuming Deng takes it, the Cavs would have to trade Jack and Varejao in order to get in the neighborhood of offering James a max contract. And that still doesn't take into account the draft slot for their 2014 first-round pick, which also chews into their salary cap."
The full analysis can be found here.
December 23, 2013
To keep winning, Wade says he needs LeBron
LeBron's free-agency decision not only will set the course for his future seasons, it also could impact the direction of Dwyane Wade's career.
Wade, who, like James, can become a free agent in the offseason, said during an ESPN interview that "it can impact a lot" if James decides to play elsewhere.
Wade, in fact, said such a decision could make him reassess his approach to the game going forward.
"It means a lot," he said. "I'm not . . . like I said, I'm 31. And, you know, if everything goes the way you want it to go in a perfect world, you look at say, 'Man, at least for another four or five years, I can get it.'
"I have three championships. I have done everything in this game from the standpoint of individually that you can do. I have nothing to prove from that standpoint. I play now for to win championships. I play for the cameraderie, the brotherhood. I play just because I love the game.
"And if I do want to do that no more, I can walk away."
Wade, in fact, said it bothers him those times when he knee maintenance program keeps him from the court alongside James.
"I don't like to say the word 'hate,' but I hate it," he said. "I hate not being able to be out there every night with him. I hate not being able to go out there every night and give my organization what they came accustomed to. I dislike it."
The ESPN "Sunday Conversation" interview can be found here.
December 13, 2013
Barkley says James should return to Cavs, rips Heat fans
So what does Charles Barkley think about LeBron's upcoming free agent decision? The TNT analyst thinks he should return to Cleveland, because he thinks Heat fans stink.
Barkley was asked about LeBron's future during an interview with Rachel Nichols that aired Friday on CNN, including why James ever would leave a championship-winning situation.
Barkley: "It's interesting. People always ask me about the championship ring. And I never think like they think. You know, basketball's what I do, it's not who I am. I thought LeBron shoulda stayed in Cleveland. Just 'cause he got them rings now, he ain't no better. Think about the notion that, just because I didn't win a sportin' event, my life is not successful. That's gotta be the stupidest thing I ever heard."
Nichols: "At the end of the year, he has the option to opt out in Miami. You want him back in Cleveland?"
Barkley: "I think it'd be great for him to go back to Cleveland. Number one, I don't think they are great fans in Miami. I thought they were great fans in Cleveland."
Nichols: "People in Miami already don't like you; you're gonna dig a deeper hole with this interview."
Barkley: "I'm not digging a deeper -- they're not the -- listen, those were the same fans who were leaving when they thought they had lost to the Spurs. So let's don't act like they're super fans."
A video of the interview can be found here.
November 27, 2013
Varejao could see James back with Cavs
For now, LeBron James is coming back, although not to stay beyond hosting the Heat for Thanksgiving at his estate near Akron.
But at least one former Cavaliers teammate, the only former teammate remaining with the team since LeBron played in Cleveland, still could envision a reunion.
Asked in advance of Wednesday's Heat-Cavaliers game at Quicken Loans Arena about James' future free-agency plans, center Anderson Varejao said not to discount LeBron-Cavs II.
"It could happen," Varejao said Tuesday. "Bron is from Akron. Akron is not too far from here. Eventually in his career, he probably wants to play at home."
Yes, even with the bitterness in Northeast Ohio that followed James' July 2010 free-agency defection to the Heat.
"I think the way he left was wrong," Varejao said. “But regardless . . . he helped me a lot, helped my game and helped me as a person. I have nothing against him. It could happen."
November 24, 2013
'Come Home LeBron' rally planned in Cleveland
A "Come Home LeBron" rally is being planned for the Heat's Wednesday visit to Cleveland.
The Akron Beacon Journal reports that as part of a fan effort to get James to sign with the Cavaliers in free-agency, a group of fans will pass out 2,000 T-shirts outside Quicken Loans Arena before the Heat play there Wednesday. As part of the effort, those who take a picture wearing the shirt and tweet @ComeHomeLebron will be eligible to win 2014-15 Cavaliers season tickets.
Also, a "Come Home LeBron" billboard will go up near James' alma mater, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, for four or eight weeks. Another is scheduled for Interstate 71.
When the Heat return in March, the plan is to distribute 10,000 T-shirts. Some, according to the newspaper, will be passed out by the fan group Dec. 14 at the opening of the renovated St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, which is funded by a $1 million donation from James.
The details of the effort can be found here.
November 18, 2013
MLS tie-in would strengthen Miami roots
First, it's not as if being part owner of a soccer team mandates a fulltime presence alongside.
LeBron James, after all, has a part interest in EPL team Liverpool but still lives on this side of the pond.
But if reports of James' interest in a Miami collaboration on a Major League Soccer team with David Beckham pan out, that's one more South Florida bond for LeBron.
Because they don't have and aren't getting MLS soccer in Cleveland.
And Los Angeles' MLS entries already are accounted for, which is why Beckham is looking elsewhere in the first place.
So, basically, buy a South Florida soccer ticket, keep LeBron.
The story of a potential LeBron-Beckham MLS Miami collaboration was first reported by The Daily Mail.
November 9, 2013
Wife establishes business roots in S. Florida
Is this a "tell" in LeBron's ultimate 2014 decision? Probably not, but his family's South Florida roots are at least a little bit deeper with his wife opening a juice bar in Miami.
As Savannah James has hinted at with recent Instagram posts, ESPN has now confirmed that she will be opening The Juice Spot in the Brickell neighborhood of Miami the first week of December.
Saturday, on his Instagram account, LeBron posted, "Look at u@mrs savannahrj!!! U go girl. Big ol STAR now! So proud of u, more than u may even know. #MyWifeIsPrettyCoolandSexy #BusinessWoman #StriveForGreatnessRunsInTheFamily."
"The idea of selling juice, Savannah James said, came from making healthy potions with her trainer to get in shape for the couple's wedding in September.
"James said her husband will stand behind her, but that this will very much be her own project.
" 'LeBron's connection to my company is that he supports me,' she said. 'But this going to my baby.' "
Of course, it is far easier to run a Miami-based business from Miami.
October 29, 2013
Oddsmaker says James will stay in '14
So what do the wise guys say? Well, according to offshore bookmaker Bovada.lv, the odds are 4 to 11 that LeBron will be a member of the Heat in 2014-15.
The proposition does delineate whether it will be by re-signing or merely LeBron bypassing the early-termination clause in his contract, a decision that must be made by June 30.
By contrast Bovada.lv is offering 11-to-5 odds for those willing to wager that LeBron will not be with the Heat a year from now.
Other propositions, from Bovada, related to LeBron and the Heat as the 2013-14 season gets under way:
Will LeBron James be a member of the Miami Heat in 2014/2015?
Yes -275 (4/11)
No +220 (11/5)
Will Carmelo Anthony be a member of the New York Knicks in 2014/2015?
Yes -140 (5/7)
No +110 (11/10)
Total Games Played – Greg Oden
Heat season averages
Total Points - LeBron James
Total Rebounds - LeBron James
Total Assists - LeBron James
Total Points - Dwyane Wade
Total Assists – Dwayne Wade
Total Points - Chris Bosh
Total Rebounds - Chris Bosh
Total Points – Ray Allen
Total Points – Mario Chalmers
October 27, 2013
Cleveland view is a return to Cavaliers
So what's the perspective in Ohio? Well, Sunday's Akron Beacon Journal offered the view that James very likely could be headed home next summer.
Per columnist Marla Ridenour:
"I think the odds are good James will leave Miami. I agree with informal polls in magazines and on the Internet that Cleveland is his most likely choice if he does.
"I don’t believe James wants to raise sons LeBron Jr. and Bryce in South Florida. I envision them following in his footsteps in the gym he’s spending $1 million to renovate at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.
"James also knows that no one has been able to 'Light up the town like Las Vegas,' which he vowed to do here. The longer Cleveland’s championship drought, now assured to hit 50 years thanks to the woebegone Browns, the more revered will be the players who end it. His mansion in Bath might eventually have a Jamestown address if he brings us that long-awaited parade down Euclid Avenue."
The full piece can be found here.
October 23, 2013
Scout says Wade perfect fit alongside James
Amid the debate about the relationship between LeBron and Dwyane Wade comes perspective from an NBA scout with calls their chemistry "great."
The comment comes as part of the "Enemy Lines" section in the Heat preview in Sports Illustrated's NBA preview.
From the scout:
"The chemistry between LeBron and Wade has been great the last two years. I didn't think they had any chemistry in their first year together. The entire offense was "your turn, my turn." Now, the pecking order is clear: There's LeBron, then Wade and Bosh, then the rest. Wade is seeing the level at which LeBron is playing and, whether it's maturity or the effect of injuries, he has stepped back a bit and it's made them a better team."
The same scout from an opposing team makes it clear that James remains the key to the Heat's success:
"The biggest deal the last two years is obvious to anyone: LeBron James. His level of play has been off the charts, and it has raised everyone else's. His game has become more efficient. He's taking quality shots. He's not settling for as many long two-point jumpers, but he's also become a better three-point shooter. You also have to look at how Miami has changed its offense to incorporate more movement, making it harder for defenses to load up on LeBron."
The full analysis can be found here.
October 17, 2013
Kerr expects Heat to retool with re-signed James
Having already gone on record against the likelihood of the Heat repeating as champions, TNT analyst Steve Kerr was asked as part of a USA Today roundtable of NBA television analysts whether such a setback would cost the Heat the services of LeBron.
From that piece:
If the Heat don't stay on top, will LeBron James leave next summer in free agency?
Kerr: "I have a hard time seeing LeBron leaving Miami, but I had a hard time seeing him leave Cleveland [in the summer of 2010], so who knows? But assuming he stays in Miami and re-signs, then historically what has happened with teams like Miami -- whether it was the Lakers and Celtics in the '80s or the Bulls in the '90s and the Lakers again in the 2000s -- teams like that retool and rebuild around their superstars, and they kind of get rejuvenated because they get knocked off their perch and kind of regain their hunger. So if I had to predict, I would say there's a pretty good chance they don't make it this year and then there's a pretty good chance they turn around and win a title the following year."
The full roundtable of analysts can be found here.
October 16, 2013
71% in player poll expect Heat to re-sign James
And the survey says . . . ? LeBron isn't going anywhere.
That at least is what ESPN came away with when it polled 26 players, with 71 percent saying they believed LeBron would re-sign with the Heat when that window could open next summer, 25 percent saying he returns to the Cavaliers as a free agent in July and 4 percent see him signing with the Lakers next summer.
Said one of the players surveyed and assured of anonymity, "I love LeBron; he's a nice guy and a great player. But I also get why people dislike him. He showed no loyalty to Cleveland, and The Decision was just a terrible idea. So, uh, I don't know what to think."
Asked if they would play for half their current salary if it meant getting playing alongside LeBron, 85 percent said no and 15 percent said yes.
Interviewed for the survey, a player ESPN identified only as a "perennial All-Star" said, "Honestly, I think he's going back to the Cavs. They're kind of like Miami was for LeBron in 2010; the Cavs have the talent to be really good for the next six or seven years. It makes sense that he'd want to return and win a title."
A graphic of the survey can be found here.
October 15, 2013
'I'm into maximizing what I have'
Included in ESPN the Magazine's Oct. 28 NBA preview issue is an extensive interview with James that touches on several factors, but not directly on his potential July 2014 free agency.
There was, however, an allusion to "The Decision" in 2010, when James announced he was leaving the Cavaliers for the Heat as a free agent, as well as how championship rings shape James' decisions.
From the piece:
There also was a reference to rings in the interview, with James having won two with the Heat the past two seasons, his lone titles to this stage."
The entire interview can found here.
September 28, 2013
Are Knicks maneuvering for a pitch?
The reality, of course, is that every team would like to make a free-agency run at LeBron. Another reality is having the 2014 cap space to do so.
The Knicks are an example of want vs. ability. Unless the Knicks can find a way out of Amare Stoudemire's $23.4 million for 2014-15, it would appear New York would have no way of creating LeBron space next summer while still retaining Carmelo Anthony, another impending 2014 free agent.
Yet in a piece on the Knicks' management shift from Glen Grunwald to Steve Mills, The New York Times speculates on the potential impact the front-office change by Knicks owner James Dolan could have on a LeBron courtship:
"Dolan may have concluded that Mills, who also worked a number of years for the N.B.A. in addition to his decade with the Knicks, and who got to know a significant number of agents and top players as he vied in recent months for the union job, will be a good person to lead the team’s free-agent efforts.
"Those efforts could include finding a way to shed the final part of Amar'e Stoudemire's contract after this season to create cap maneuverability and possibly even make another run at LeBron James when he becomes eligible for free agency next summer. Mills could also lead an effort to lure another star player to the Knicks after this season, in part to persuade Carmelo Anthony to stay in New York. Anthony can opt out of his contract next summer."
September 26, 2013
"I don't want to go back to cold winters"
As with almost every element of the "LeBron Watch," it's all about reading the signs.
So in advance of LeBron unveiling his limited-edition watch for Audemars Piguet on Friday night, there was this from an interview with Women's Wear Daily, regarding his potential 2014 free-agency plans and where he eventually would look to settle down in retirement:
"I miss the slower pace back home but have grown used to my new city's little perks like fresh fish and sweet fruit. It will definitely be someplace warm. I don't want to go back to cold winters."
LeBron, an Akron native, of course, has been linked to a possible return to Cleveland next summer, as well as a potential move to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The full piece, which focuses mostly on fashion and lifestyle, can be found here.
September 21, 2013
Recruiting glitch? Cavs list Corbin as their greatest No. 23
The consensus has been that if LeBron does consider outside options in 2014 free agency, a potential return to Cleveland might be at the top of his list.
So how did the Cavaliers open their recruiting pitch?
By offering on the team's official website a list of the team's greatest players to wear each number.
All was well and good until you initially reached No. 23. Because that's where you initially could find a post with a photo of none other than Tyrone Corbin, with a caption that read:
"So many great Cavaliers have worn No. 23, but we went with current Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin. The digit made famous by MJ, was also worn by . . ."
From there, there was a list of 11 players, with LeBron listed 11th, with Gary Freeman and Rowland Garrett listed ahead of James, on a listing not in alphabetical order.
Eventually, an update, with a photo of LeBron was offered, with a caption that now reads, "Without question, LeBron's photo belongs here! The number 23 also was worn by . . ." with Corbin listed sixth, with an entry of, "we still have great love for you Tyrone!"
LeBron has since moved to No. 6 with the Heat, where we by no means will attempt to inject Blake Ahearn's name into the debate.
A screenshot of the since-altered entry at the Cavaliers' website and further details can be found here.
September 13, 2013
Video game has LeBron staying . . . and going
It has reached the point where one of the most successful video-game franchises is entering the debate. Included in NBA 2K14 is a "LeBron Path to Greatness" mode.
Essentially, it allows the player to decide whether LeBron stays or goes when he reaches his potential 2014 free agency, and then play out a future in one of those two modes.
Per the recap by Dime Magazine:
"The 'LeBron Path to Greatness' mode is divided along two parallel trajectories that follow James over the next seven years of his career. Between next season and 2019-2020, a lot can happen -- and the game developers have packed tons of interesting lineups together."
September 10, 2013
"Would love to spend rest of my career in Miami"
In an interview with ESPN.com, James says, "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. 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."
In the story, Heat President Pat Riley says, "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. 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."
August 20, 2013"When that path comes, we'll cross it"
LeBron made it clear in an interview as part of the launch of the Fox Sports 1 cable network that clarity on his potential 2014 free agency will be offered only when necessary.
"I have no idea. I haven't even begin to think about that. I think right now, my focus is on trying to win three championships in a row," he said. "But as far as next summer, when that path comes, we'll cross it."
Asked about his options, with speculation drawn to a return to the Cleveland Cavaliers or a move to the Los Angeles Lakers, James said in the video interview, "I'm a winner, that's all that matters. I want to win. I'm in a position right now where that's all I think about. I'm very comfortable in my surroundings.
"I love my teammates. I love the organization in Miami. So that's where I am right now."
August 12, 2013"I'm happy right now being in Miami"
In a sitdown interview with Robin Roberts that aired on "Good Morning America," among the first questions of the two-part interview was James' ability to opt out of his Heat contract after the coming season.
"I'm happy right now being in Miami, obviously winning two championships in a row, and hopefully everything works out," he said.
"But when that time comes upon us, I'll be able to tackle that. But happiness and life and what you do makes it easier to show up every day."
He then joked about how fleeting a career in the NBA can be in terms of years.
"I think I've got another 10, maybe 10, less than 10, my clock is winding," he said. "This is the longest shortest job career that you have."
August 11, 2013
"Haven't really thought about it"
In an exclusive interview with the Sun Sentinel at his annual charity event in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, James put aside questions of his potential 2014 free agency.
"It's too early," he said. "I will get to a point where I have to cross that but I haven't really thought about it."
He said he was prepared to deal with the speculation.
"It's the business," he said.
"I understand that people are going to talk about it, especially who I am and being in the position that I am in. For me, I owe it to myself and I owe it to my teammates and the franchise, to stay focused and understand what I'm there to do. I'm there to win a championship and not talk about free agency."
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