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As he will all season long, LeBron dodges free agency question

Sep 10, 2013, 12:05 PM EDT

BASKET-NBA-HEAT-JAMES Getty Images

Back in 2010, LeBron James spent the entire season trying to avoid the “will he leave Cleveland” question. He wouldn’t answer it directly. Of course, the Internet abhors a vacuum, so his lack of information was filled by the speculation of media and the hopes of fans until the thing swirled into a massive circus.

LeBron can opt out of his Miami Heat contract next summer and most likely will to get the security of a longer deal (five years with the Heat, four with another team).

He will be asked about his plans roughly 3,694,507 times this season, and he plans to dodge the question again. As he did with Chris Broussard of ESPN.com.

“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’ve said before I expect LeBron will stay in Miami because he trusts Pat Riley to restructure the team to keep it in contention (recruiting guys to come play with LeBron in Miami isn’t the hardest sell). It’s the kind of trust he didn’t have with the management and ownership in Cleveland.

However, perspectives can change over the course of a year. LeBron may see Miami after this playoff run and think that the Cavaliers or Lakers or wherever may give him a better shot at titles. And with that he could bolt. It’s smart business to keep his options open.

For now, he’s going to dodge the question and focus on a three-peat with Miami, he said.

“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.”‘

Good luck with that.

  1. allthewaylive1 - Sep 10, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    Kurt if you writers are going to take us down this road again, could you at least speculate on some teams other than Cleveland and the Lakers?

    • Kurt Helin - Sep 10, 2013 at 6:51 PM

      The Bulls are there, the Mavericks could be, but it’s hard to speculate fully right now because a number of teams could make moves to clear out the space.

  2. beach305 - Sep 10, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    I’m a Miami Heat fan, but I don’t think he should commit until after the season. I want him to put as much pressure on management to insure they will continue to build around him and that Riley will be around for a few more years. Why lose leverage now.

    Money for LeBron isn’t the issue. I bet he takes less like before just to insure he can win titles. The really question comes down to the commitment of everyone else.

  3. adoombray - Sep 10, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    More accurate headline:

    As they will all season, media seeks to manufacture story that leads to inevitable Laker fans arguing he is coming and people calling them silly, driving page views and pointless arguments everywhere.

    • woodson312 - Sep 10, 2013 at 1:49 PM

      i want no part of lebron on the lakers because of all the fake fans. i hate fake fans i’ll pass

      • detectivejimmymcnulty - Sep 11, 2013 at 1:22 AM

        To be fair, there are a large number of purely Kobe fans out there. I think Miami itself has more to do with the massive amount of fakes.

  4. bougin89 - Sep 10, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    Well, for Lebron’s sake, from a PR standpoint I hope he learned from his mistakes in 2010.

  5. cmart0907 - Sep 10, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Dwayne Wade legs not getting any better. Bosh seems like he wanna show when he wants. Nobody else worth playing with on that bench to contend in the playoffs with. He needs to go to a young team. I wouldnt be surprised if he ends up in Chicago. Dengs extension fell out. Cheap contract of Jimmy Butler will take his spot. They will amnesty Boozer. IMHO.

    • bougin89 - Sep 10, 2013 at 4:15 PM

      Even without Deng’s contract and if they amnesty Boozer they would still have to get creative and work out a sign and trade to get Lebron under the cap at a max(or near max) deal. You also have to put a value on the Heat not wanting to help the Bulls.

      If I had to put a guess on the probability that Chicago gets Lebron it would be somewhere between .01% and .08%.

  6. gostlcards5 - Sep 10, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    He’ll think about it more after the improving (we hope) Pacers knock the aging Heat out of the playoffs next season…. :D

  7. money2long - Sep 10, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    i wish the media acted like they didn’t care. that’d throw lebron for a loop

  8. malvaren18 - Sep 10, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    La lakers will probably make him an offer he can’t refuse.

  9. MyTeamsAllStink - Sep 10, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    He’s not going to LA get over yourself Laker fans.

    • money2long - Sep 10, 2013 at 6:43 PM

      now, i’m not making any predictions what he will do, im only providing perspective with this comment :

      ceveland fans-
      “lebron is not leaving his hometown..get over yourself REST OF THE LEAGUE. “

  10. stephenolszewski - Sep 10, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    Cleveland is that young team how nice and dominant would a lineup of Kyrie, Dion, LeBron, Tristan, and Bynum with Varejao and Jack off the bench

    • adamsjohn714 - Sep 11, 2013 at 3:50 AM

      Start Varejao instead of tristan, bench waiters, and you’ve got yourself a nice squad.

  11. realninerfan22 - Sep 10, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    Who really cares…. Lbj as the sole leader of a team gets u deep 2nd round 3rd, but at the end of the day he can’t lead a team to a title. He doesn’t have the mental make up.. If you traded d rose for lbj straight up, the bulls well still not win a title..lbj is a frontrunner, he’s has the physical god given gifts, but mentally he is soft ass hell, and his style of play takes away from others players games..

    • detectivejimmymcnulty - Sep 11, 2013 at 1:20 AM

      There are people like this still out there?

    • bougin89 - Sep 11, 2013 at 9:38 AM

      Oh man. I didn’t like the “decision” and all that either but to say Lebron can’t lead a team to a title?? He just dominated the playoffs the last two years and won rings by being so dominate….

      So much fail in one comment…

    • miamatt - Sep 11, 2013 at 12:44 PM

      @realninerfan22:

      Trolling defined.

  12. 32magicman - Sep 10, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    He should 3peat this year then retire to play baseball. Then make a comeback win 3 more and then play for the wizards.

    • money2long - Sep 10, 2013 at 10:22 PM

      sorry… lebron already messed up the sequence of events by changing his number prior to a hiatus.

  13. drewdatwit84 - Sep 11, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    So let me get this right… u guys see LeBron leaving a POTENTIAL DYNASTY in Miami (especially if they win 3 in a row) to go do what? Start ALL OVER AGAIN somewhere else??? seriously?

    …especially to LA? where he’ll never touch the ball as long as Kobe is on the court? He’s gonna leave a solid foundation of Pat Riley and Dwyane Wade around him and a potential chance of a historic NBA LEGACY and a chance to own his OWN pedestal in Miami… to go SHARE a crowded pedestal full of laker legends and try to play alongside a career ballhog? Really? That actually makes SENSE to u guys?

  14. drewdatwit84 - Sep 11, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    lmao @stepheno-whatever ^^^ He said Jack off lol ^^^

  15. antistratfordian - Sep 11, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    “As he will all season long, LeBron dodges free agency question”

    No. This is not a “dodge” or even an attempt at dodging. LeBron answered the question directly. He doesn’t know and can’t possibly know until the end of the season (too many things can happen like injuries or opt outs). He already said that he would love to stay in Miami if everything fell into place perfectly at the end of the season, but how can anyone know 10 months in advance if everything is going to be ideal? We can’t.

    In any case, a dodge-attempt would’ve been something like a long-winded answer that tried to make the listener forget the initial question as he answers a similar question that wasn’t even asked. That didn’t happen.

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