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:
- Imagewise, do you feel you've gotten back to where you were before 2010? Or maybe even improved your image? Not in Akron but across the country?
"I'd say I've seen people's perception change from who they thought I was in 2010 to who I really am now. I've changed personally. But things have changed. I believe time heals all, and the way I've reshaped my life and the way I've played the game in these last few years has helped my image. I wasn't saying, This is how we're going to do it. This is the way we're going to get LeBron's image back. It was just like, This is how I want to live. This is how I want to play basketball, and it kind of just did it on its own."
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."
- A lot of people feel that you have to win five rings like Kobe Bryant or six rings like Mike.
"I don't think about that. That really doesn't mean much to me. I don't play the catching game. I'm not trying to catch Magic or catch Bird or catch Kobe. I'm into maximizing what I have while I have the opportunity to do it. I've played my first 10 years at a high level, and I'm trying to play my next 10 at a high level, or as high as I can be."