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LeBron James: “I’m not going to worry” about Lakers rumors

Oct 19, 2012, 1:18 AM EDT

Miami Heat's James passes against the Detroit Pistons in a preseason NBA basketball game in Miami Reuters

LeBron James is only going to talk about this moment, about the Heat’s chance to repeat. He is not going to get caught up in what might or might not happen two seasons from now.

Thursday the story leaked that the Lakers potentially will have cap space in 2014 to chase a max free agent, which happens to be the same year LeBron can opt out of his deal with the Heat. And for some NBA executives 1+1=2.

But asked about it Thursday night, LeBron wasn’t playing along. Before the game he dodged the question entirely, afterwards he was direct speaking with Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.

“I’m here,” he said. “I’m preparing for the season. I’m preparing to defend our title. I understand it comes up because of who I am.”

ESPN.com adds this quote:

“That story, I don’t know where it came from, but I understand why it came up because of who I am — it’s going to happen,” James told reporters after Miami’s first preseason home game. “But I’m not going to worry about it. I’ve got to continue to stay focused with these guys and make sure we’re ready for any challenges that come.”

From the “what else is he going to say?” file, we bring you LeBron’s answer.

Never say never in the NBA, but this is both unlikely and a couple NBA lifetimes from now.

The Lakers are doing what smart teams do — giving themselves options and opportunities in a couple years. They may not choose to go this direction, but they have options. This is the same kind of bold move Pat Riley made when he started clearing out cap space for the year LeBron became a free agent two years ago. You need to be bold and aggressive. What has made the Lakers dangerous the last three decades is they have been both smart and they have the advantages of a big market.

But two years from now, this whole idea may be silly. It’s impossible to say.

And all LeBron can say is he wants to live in the moment.

  1. timb12 - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:32 AM

    That “because of who I am” part doesn’t sit well with me. It sounds a little arrogant. But I’m nit picking. If Kobe said this, it’d be the most humble thing he’s ever said.

    • eventhorizon04 - Oct 19, 2012 at 5:08 AM

      I get what you’re saying, but I don’t think it’s arrogant.

      I can name 5 players that, if they were to become free agents in 2014, would automatically have rumors about interest from the LA Lakers – LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, and Derrick Rose.

      It would be stating fact, not being arrogant, for any of those 5 guys to expect to be coveted by the Lakers or any other franchise willing to give out a max contract to be in title contention, since all are under age 30 and will be in their prime for at least 5 more years.

      The same way that Michael Jordan saying, “In my prime, every NBA franchise wanted me,” isn’t arrogant, but stating a fact.

  2. clevelandschronic2 - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:40 AM

    Get ready for the rumors miami.… lebron is gonna keep dancing around these questions for the next 2 yrs. n even if he does answer them u cant believe a word this ass clown says. So enjoy the rumors!

    • vero1402 - Oct 19, 2012 at 10:26 AM

      agree…because unlike the cavaliers, the heat don’t put players like Mo “I almost retired/bench player without lebron” Williams and 20 million dollars of 38 year old Shaq around Lebron
      Good luck with your 20 wins for the next couple years and see Kyrie Irving leave your sorry ass franchise clown

    • miamatt - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:52 PM

      Nah, we’re just gonna enjoy our championship and watching our team go for another.

      Who are the top players in next year’s lottery? You must have a list by now.

    • jt1138 - Oct 19, 2012 at 6:21 PM

      The difference is our GM is always trying to put better and better talent around him, where as Dan Gilbert and your GM didn’t try at all. They gave him Mo Williams and an end of the road Shaq. Plus, even if he did leave, Miami would be grateful for what he did for us, not angry. Just because he leaves doesn’t mean we’ll forget the memories. We’re not like Cleveland, whose main export is crippling depression.

  3. fballlvr22 - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:45 AM

    Serious question…would Miami fans be mad? He didnt get drafted there. He came there after being recruited and got the job done in two years. I understand he has two more years. How would a Miami fan react?

    • Legacy112 - Oct 19, 2012 at 4:10 AM

      With dignity and respect. Love is your first and Lebron got his first with Miami. He gave us all he had. Got us a championship(maybe another one this year). We are very happy and grateful.

      But it would indeed hurt to see him leave. We will… As a city, rally to try and get him to stay when the time comes. If he doesnt than it was probably the best for him. Everybody here repects that.

      Even now he gave us more than Carmelo gave the nuggets/knicks, d-rose to chicago, durant to OKC… Catch my drift.

      Losing Dwyane Wade would hurt more though. Seriously.

      • Legacy112 - Oct 19, 2012 at 6:03 AM

        Respects**

    • eventhorizon04 - Oct 19, 2012 at 5:12 AM

      I think it would be similar to the reaction of Boston Celtics fans to Ray Allen choosing to leave Boston.

      Ray Allen wasn’t drafted by Boston but played there for several years and helped Boston reach the Finals twice and win a championship (sounds similar to LeBron story, right?).

      Are Celtics fans thrilled Allen left to join Miami? No.
      Did some call him a traitor? Yes.

      BUT the Celtics fans I know say they respect his right to choose where he plays and appreciate him for being a great player while in Boston. Similar reaction to LeBron leaving.

      • muhangis - Oct 21, 2012 at 10:44 PM

        Wow, Sorry but comparing Ray Allen in the tail end of his career to arguably the greatest player in the game in his prime is ludicrous! Even when he was his prime, Allen wasn’t 66% the player that LeBron is. If Boston really felt they needed Ray back, they easily would have. But as unproductive as he was last year (worse in the playoffs), he was completely expendable. Not the same can be said about Lebron…..

        the comparison is off by light years!

    • southbeachtalent - Oct 19, 2012 at 9:13 AM

      Mad? After the championship he brought? I would be completely fine with him leaving, it’s his choice. I’ve said it before it would be in his best interest to opt out.

      But today we don’t have to worry about that, he’s still part of the team and we remain a serious contender.

      LETS GO HEAT!!!

  4. sportsfan83 - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:05 AM

    Great we’re gonna hear this same story 3-4 times a week for the next 2 years….

    • miamatt - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:53 PM

      I know. I’m gonna start blocking it out now… not for fear of what may come, but out of boredom born from the tedious repetition.

  5. mytthor - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:03 AM

    You’ve got to read between the lines here:

    “ [...] it’s going to happen,” James told reporters after Miami’s first preseason home game. “But I’m not going to worry about it. I’ve got to continue to stay focused with these guys and make sure we’re ready for any challenges that come.”

  6. eventhorizon04 - Oct 19, 2012 at 5:22 AM

    I don’t think LeBron will go to the Lakers in 2 years.
    However, 2 years ago, I *definitely* didn’t predict Steve Nash and Dwight Howard would both go to the Lakers, so I’m not going to pretend I’m great at predicting what happens 2 years into the future.

    Still, I just don’t see money or marketability as reasons to jump to LA given LeBron name recognition and plentiful endorsements, especially since another team change could hurt his reputation further. I think LeBron stays in Miami so long as Wade is there (they really are good friends).

    However, one possible scenario I see is if the Heat win another ring (or 2) between now and 2014, LeBron MIGHT consider going back to Cleveland.

    In this scenario, he would have won the 2+ championships with the Heat, yet he’d still be young enough to have a shot at leading a team in Cleveland to the Finals. I don’t think Wade would leave Miami, but he might convince Bosh to go with him. If he ever went back to Cleveland and won a championship with the Cavaliers, he would pretty much restore his reputation there.

    Still, I consider that unlikely. More likely, he stays in Miami until Wade retires at around 35 (so 4-5 years from now), at which point, LeBron (at age 32) might THEN consider going back to Cleveland to finish his career and try to bring a championship to Ohio.

    • miamatt - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:56 PM

      Don’t forget the fact that Florida has no state or city income taxes. That amounts to millions of dollars with each contract, not to mention whatever endorsement deals a player avoids getting double dipped at the federal and state level.

  7. blakspartan - Oct 19, 2012 at 7:23 AM

    What Lebron is really saying is, right now I’m focused on this season, when the time comes to be a free agent then I will let you know my decision if i want to join the lakers or not

  8. rockthered1286 - Oct 19, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    Coming to theatres near you in 2014:

    THE DECISION: PART II

    • 00maltliquor - Oct 20, 2012 at 1:48 AM

      Great! I’ve been waiting for a sequel! Get your popcorn ready fellas.

  9. southbeachtalent - Oct 19, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    So what do you guys think Kobe is going to do if he catches wind of this, which he has?? He wont retire until 2015, he will not allow LeBron to over shadow him! Come on guys get a clue!!

  10. richwizl - Oct 19, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    Lebron is the most boring-to-watch basketball star I have ever seen. He scores most of his points via free throws for slaps on the wrist. Kobe could out-shoot him blindfolded.

    • bougin89 - Oct 19, 2012 at 11:59 AM

      Lebron has done his fair share of flopping, no doubt about that, but to say he is boring to watch?? Lebron is the most complete player in the game, the combination of his ability to score and pass is amazing. I do think he was more exciting to watch in Cleveland because the offense ran through him on every single play but now that he can work off Wade and Bosh he is the most efficient player in the NBA. If Kobe were traded for Lebron straight up the Lakers would probably break the Bulls single season win record and sweep through the playoffs.

    • Legacy112 - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:52 PM

      Wow.

      Mvp, nba champion, finals mvp, 2012 olympic gold medalist…

      Yeah they just give that stuff away to good free throw shooters.

      Lol I cant believe how blind your hatred for lebron has made you.

      • jimeejohnson - Oct 20, 2012 at 11:51 AM

        I can.

  11. rtfinch - Oct 19, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    The real question is not “Will lebron leave” its “how many miami heat fans will be left” …

    • Legacy112 - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:15 PM

      Here we go again. Another funny guy who thinks miami doesnt have real fans. We are here and we dont appreciate the disrespect of being told we dont really care about basketball.

      Unfortunately we do have a lot of filthy rich people here who are not real fans and only buy tickets to heat games to say they were there. They arrive late and leave early. Spend most of their time at the bar. We do not appreciate these fans either. But do not think we are all like that. I cant go to all the heat games but I watch every game. Ive seen every heat game since the beginning. When the heat drafted a guy named rony seikaly. All the years of losing until we drafted this guy named dwyane wade in 2003. To him we owe all of our recent success. He is our basketball hero.

      We were here before lebron and we will be here after he leaves.

      Good day sir.

  12. heat256 - Oct 19, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    Just like every player that signs a contract and fulfills it, he is free to leave when he wants. Same with Bosh and Wade. I don’t begrudge them that. They brought a title to Miami (wade brought another), so I have the memories of those and if they have to reload in another way, then so be it. The Heat was here before Wade and James, and will be there after they leave. Life goes on, gents.

  13. thetooloftools - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Please God, not another decision !

  14. mrmafaka - Oct 19, 2012 at 9:49 PM

    ESPN started this rumor, they are the ones that created it, nursed it and spread it, then they act like they don’t know where it came from, I am sick of ESPN, they suck a fat infected one, next thing out of the garbage mouth that is ESPN will be that LeBron has joined the Yankees, I wish there was a good full time sports network, one that didn’t suck like ESPN does.

  15. 00maltliquor - Oct 20, 2012 at 3:49 AM

    I love the comments by some of the Heat fans on here when faced with a question of “what would they do if LeBron left?”. Of course it hasn’t actually happend so there’s no way to know exactly how they would act other then just saying how they would act, but from the looks of things on these message boards they are so much more classier then those sourpuss, crybaby CLE fans and B****-made owner Dan Gilbert. I have respect for that.

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