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LeBron James says “At this point, I can’t” see leaving Miami

Feb 18, 2014, 10:58 AM EDT

Celebrities Attend The 63rd NBA All-Star Game 2014 Getty Images

LeBron James has dodged the free agency questions this season, refusing to broach the topic when asked. He’s more artful about it than the season before he left Cleveland, but he has avoided the topic.

Until an interview on NBA TV that ran Monday night.

In an interview with Steve Smith (the same one that sparked the “Mount Rushmore” discussion) LeBron was asked if he could see himself leaving Miami (transcription by the AP):

“At this point, I can’t,” James said. “At this point, I can’t. We don’t know what can happen from now to July, so what I’ve been able to do this whole season to this point is just worry about what’s at hand and that’s winning another championship. And hopefully at the end of this year I can put myself in a position where I can hold that Larry O’Brien Trophy up once again and then I will assess what I have to do with my future after that.”

While a number of teams have left cap space around just in case, nobody around the league expects LeBron to leave Miami after this season.

LeBron can opt out of his deal after this season, after next season or become a free agent in 2016 and the question is what path does he take? If he opts out now he can secure a five-year deal with Miami, adding a level of security if this is where he wants to be. If you’re argument is that Dwyane Wade is getting old and titles harder to come by so LeBron will want to leave, I would remind you that LeBron and Wade are very close. Plus do you think Pat Riley might be able to convince guys to come live and play in Miami (with warm weather, no state tax and a few other perks) next to LeBron to chase rings? With LeBron Miami can reload.

But if LeBron doesn’t opt out it will make you wonder if he is looking to leave down the line.

Also, remember Wade and Chris Bosh can opt out this season to look for new deals. What direction they take will impact Miami’s future and how that roster is built.

  1. jamesk2465 - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:03 AM

    He said the same thing in Cleveland.

    • sportsfan18 - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:11 AM

      Yeah, but Cleveland is Cleveland… cold, dirty and did I mention cold?

      Why would a player want to return from a road trip in Jan or Feb at 3:30 a.m. and land in Cleveland when it’s 4 degrees, full of snow and ice when their plane could land in Miami at 3:30 a.m. and they can get in their Porsche’s while it’s still 68 degrees at 3:30 a.m.

      And when you’re a rich, young, male athlete… let me see… Cleveland night life (anytime, but especially in Jan and Feb) compared to Miami’s nightlife?

      And he did NOT have a championship yet when he said that in Cleveland.

      The man now has TWO and might (don’t think they’ll win it all this year, but might) have a 3rd before he has to make a decision.

      Have you seen his home on the internet that he has down there in Miami? WHY would he want to leave?

      Ohio is NOT a nice state and I may say that because I lived in for 5 years… Just terrible.

      • jamesk2465 - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:15 AM

        you’re forgetting Lebron still has a house in Akron. I’m sure weather isn’t a big deal for someone who lived there for most of there life.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:24 AM

        At least it’s not Detroit!

      • miamatt - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:26 AM

        @jamesk: James raved about how much he loves the weather in the interview.

        While obviously he knows and is used to the midwest winters- there’s simply no way around the fact that living in a mansion on the ocean where you can wear shorts and a t-shirt almost every day is just more pleasant.

        I spent 15 years living in Chicago, Boston, and Vermont, so I know the cold as well…. but now that I’ve come back to Miami, It’s hard for me to imagine going back without a REAL strong incentive.

      • sportsfan18 - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:06 PM

        NO, I’m NOT forgetting he still has a house in Ohio, not in the least. It’s his home, where he was born and raised so I know why he still has a home there. But I see that he is NOT plying his professional trade in that state anymore…

      • chief0727 - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:31 PM

        I think I speak for all of Ohio when I say—Thank you for leaving !

    • deavn - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:29 PM

      He’s not leaving Miami. At this point, Lebron has enough clout to bring any player to Miami for years to come. And who wouldn’t want to play in a city with nice weather and have the best chance of possibly winning a title? That’s LBJ’s city now. Especially with the other players’ production going down, They’re going to be looking to move players and add pieces.

  2. asimonetti88 - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:12 AM

    Maybe he will get tired of the humidity?

    • miamatt - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:20 AM

      We’ve already seen how he had to double the width of his headbands in response to the mugginess. If he has a beachtowel wrapped around his head during the playoffs, I’d say it’s a sign that indeed enough is enough.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:24 AM

        Perhaps Pat Riley will remind him that humidity can be good for your skin’s complexion.

      • miamatt - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:26 AM

        Man, these guys think of EVERYTHING

      • ProBasketballPundit - Feb 18, 2014 at 6:18 PM

        As a fellow prematurely bald man, I believe those double width headbands may serve another purpose for LeBron.

      • ranfan12 - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:54 PM

        i thought carmelo had double headbands too

  3. miamiheatles - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    Imagine if we bring Carmelo in next year…Big 4.

    • ron05342 - Feb 18, 2014 at 1:41 PM

      You bring Carmelo into Miami and LeBron never gets to touch the ball again.

      If you are in the Heat front office, I think you refuse all phone calls from New York.

      • money2long - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:08 PM

        carmelo haters are all unintelligent hahahaha they think they know, but they have no idea!

    • spthegr8 - Feb 18, 2014 at 2:06 PM

      If “IF’ were a Fifth, we’d ALL be drunk..!!! Just Sayin”!!!

  4. ncarolinarn7 - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    Wade “was” a good slasher and mid-range player. “Was”. There are better and cheaper players out there. Watch and see. I tell you D Wade is going to have severe arthritis set up in his knees. Not worth all the down time just to have him on the team. You could play Lebron and almost anyone and do fine. No new contract for D Wade if I’m the GM.

    • antistratfordian - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:40 PM

      List of players this year averaging at least 18/4/4 @ 54%:

      LeBron James
      Dwyane Wade

      • money2long - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:10 PM

        in case you didn’t hear lebron earlier in the year, he pretty much said his own team can’t rely on dwyane to even play. so that list means nothing.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 18, 2014 at 4:26 PM

        Dwyane will be playing in the playoffs. He’s played in at least 21 playoff games the last three years. He only missed 1 playoff game in that time – and not out of necessity – that came last year in the first round against the Bucks as a luxury because the Heat were up 3-0.

        In any case, what this list “means” is that when Wade plays he’s still kicking butt.

        If we reduce the FG% requirement down to 50% – then there are still only two other players doing what Wade is doing when he’s playing, as far as putting up his combo of points, rebounds, assists and FG%. That’s LeBron and Durant.

        Also think about this: Wade’s PER is identical to James Harden’s (21.34 & 21.35). They’re the only 2-guards in the league with PERs over 20.0.

      • money2long - Feb 22, 2014 at 4:53 PM

        so you admit this list only matters when wade plays?
        you seemed to make a hoot about kobe missing games so i tell you that wade misses a lot, and his team has learned not to rely on him. so using your logic, how good is a player if he isn’t on the court? hence you may need to adjust your list. just using your logic, right? but my brain can not compute your logic. it’s illogical. teheheheh (little school girl laugh)

      • antistratfordian - Feb 22, 2014 at 6:14 PM

        i don’t care about kobe missing games so long as kobe fans acknowledge that he has missed a ton of games in his career. i only bring that fact up when they act like he’s never out.

      • money2long - Feb 22, 2014 at 9:57 PM

        you take never very literally. you’re a fool.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 23, 2014 at 1:55 AM

        more name calling from you – how quaint. maybe one day when you expand your vocabulary you’ll be able to converse with sophisticates without feeling self-conscious.

      • money2long - Feb 23, 2014 at 1:37 PM

        is calling you anti name calling ? if it’s true, it’s not name calling. it’s just fact. “silly”

      • bougin89 - Feb 18, 2014 at 5:19 PM

        10 players average”18/4/4″ this year. Many of them aren’t as efficient as far as FG% as Wade is but also aren’t 2nd options and carry a much heavier load on offense than Wade does. Mainly Durant, Curry, Harden, Paul, Love, and Wall.

        It’s good company to be in. Of the 14 players in the 18/4/4 club Wade is probably in the middle or bottom half because of health. He can still produce when he can play. It’s proven the Heat are much better with him on the court.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 18, 2014 at 5:33 PM

        Only two average 18/4/4 shooting above 52%. Do not discount the FG% – it’s very difficult to make most of your shots as a guard. Ask Kobe.

      • bougin89 - Feb 19, 2014 at 8:52 AM

        True but their are other 18/4/4 players who have a higher TS% and produce much more offense for their teams like Curry and Harden.

        If healthy I’d still take Wade for one game. At this point that’s a big IF though.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 19, 2014 at 5:39 PM

        That’s fine, but Wade is better defender than both Curry and Harden.

        Wade is a much more efficient player than both of them when you include defense.

      • bougin89 - Feb 20, 2014 at 9:22 AM

        Obviously. Which is why I’d take Wade when healthy.

      • money2long - Feb 19, 2014 at 4:51 AM

        Yea let’s ask five time champion Kobe. Seemed to work for him. Lol

      • antistratfordian - Feb 19, 2014 at 5:40 PM

        Go ahead and ask him. He’s tried. It’s hard.

      • money2long - Feb 19, 2014 at 8:16 PM

        at least you acknowledge the rings. now kiss em…oh wait.. are your lips done with lebron’s nuts yet ?

      • antistratfordian - Feb 19, 2014 at 8:55 PM

        You get so emotional just from me demonstrating how hard it is even for an all-time great guard like Kobe to shoot 50%. You cry like a baby and feel the need to talk about rings as if that were even relevant. You are too emotionally attached to Kobe, guy.

      • money2long - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:53 PM

        anti, i’ll go easier on you. i shouldn’t stoop so low. but hey, maybe you shouldn’t find the unnecessary need to always include kobe anytime you want to point out something negative.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 19, 2014 at 11:00 PM

        It wasn’t unnecessary. Can you think of a better example of a great two guard not being able to shoot 50% in a season?

        No, you cannot. Thank you.

      • money2long - Feb 20, 2014 at 12:38 PM

        haha, it’s so funny watching you convince yourself of things. in that case, i can’t think of a bigger nut hugger of lebron’s sack than you, so it’s necessary that i bring it up. fair deal. have a nice day.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 20, 2014 at 3:45 PM

        so, no, you cannot. that was my point. good day.

  5. chief0727 - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    “With LeBron Miami can reload”….Reload with who?? A bunch of older players on the downside of their careers chasing a ring before they retire? Is there really a difference between carrying a team of untalented misfits like he did in Cleveland and carrying a team of broken down has beens like he will have to do when D Wade retires and Bosh leaves?

    Jamesk2565 is right. LeBron essentially said the same thing about the Cavs for all 3 years of his last contract—how did that turn out?

    If I was a Miami fan I’d be more worried about when LeBron Jr. starts high school. There are 2 certainties about LeBron James.

    1.) He loves Akron, Ohio, and
    2.) He loves his Alma Mater St. Vincent Mary

    Don’t think for a minute he wouldn’t love to see LeBron Jr. play for his alma mater…that can’t happen when LeBron’s in Miami or Los Angeles and LeBron Jr. is in Akron.

    • sportsfan18 - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:12 PM

      Reload with who? With any player who is a free agent. Many players would love to team up with LeBron…

      • chief0727 - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:34 PM

        True…Many players on the downside of their careers who are chasing a ring. That’s the only free agents they’ve signed in 3 years. That’s my point. Is Irving leaving Cleveland to play for the veteran minimum to play alongside LeBron? Name one above average player who is in the prime or soon to be prime of their career who is going to take less money to play with LeBron?

      • beach305 - Feb 18, 2014 at 1:43 PM

        You do realize that if Wade, Lebron and Bosh up out next year, then Miami only has 1 or two players under contract. Everybody is a FA.

        Riley is going to be reloading next year and in 2016.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:27 PM

        Maybe they could sign Karl Malone, he might still be looking to win a ring.

    • loungefly74 - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:15 PM

      uhhh…reload with top FA! who else? i thought that was pretty clear. Guys will ant to play with LJ and Pat Riley is the man to convince them. I guess im having a hard time undertstanding your logic between Miami and Cleveland…both completely different franchises/cities…

      • chief0727 - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:40 PM

        My only point was the author makes it sound so simple that Miami will simply “reload”. I love LeBron James, but the fact is he has never recruited an above average free agent to his team in 10 years in the league. He couldn’t do it in 7 years in Cleveland, and he hasn’t been able to do it in 3 years in Miami. The only reloading that is going to take place is the continued signing of over the hill veterans, on the downside of their careers, who are hoping LeBron can carry them to another championship. Now if Wade retired and Bosh left, maybe…just maybe a top free agent would come there, because he wouldn’t have to take a pay cut

      • loungefly74 - Feb 18, 2014 at 1:05 PM

        very valid points, chief. yeah, i think for a high profile FA to come would mean Wade or Bosh would have to go. well…the Heat (excuse the pun)…are the hottest thing in the NBA right now. I think the Heat have not tried or needed a big time FA to come because they were already set, only needing role players…and i think Riley is one of the best business men in the NBA…he can get anyone to come.

    • rhetoric1 - Feb 18, 2014 at 6:54 PM

      First time I ever hear the Lebron goes back to Cleveland to watch his kids play at his high school theory. Are you interning at ESPN for Brian Windhorst?

  6. loungefly74 - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    no way he leaves. the guy is having so much success there…and Pat will make sure of it.

  7. prareedoggin - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    Lebron isn’t leaving. Wade, Bosh, and Lebron will all opt out and opt back in for far less. Enough for Carmelo to join and sign another cpl roll players. Wades career is nearing its end so look for him to come off the bench in a year or two and Lebron Carmelo and Bosh to continue to bring championships.

    • loungefly74 - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:37 PM

      partially agree. but i dont think carmelo would join. his ego will want the max money available to him…and there just isn’t enough money for him to join. and lets be honest, Melo would just mess up the chemistry.

      • southbeachtalent - Feb 18, 2014 at 1:20 PM

        He is 30 and he’s figured out that he isn’t going to win alone. Wouldn’t surprise me but I think it’s unlikely.

        Then again I though LeBron to Miami was unlikely too.

    • bougin89 - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:18 AM

      Lebron, Wade, and Bosh aren’t going to opt out and come back to play for free, smh. It’s very possible they take a discount to come back but they aren’t coming back dirt cheap i.e. cheap enough to add another free agent for what Carmelo will be seeking.

      Think the Knicks would sign and trade Carmelo to the Heat? Teams look at what other teams are doing, they aren’t going to just hand the Heat all the best players in the league. Think a little.

  8. cantonbound13 - Feb 18, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    Staying close to Biogenisis

    • miamatt - Feb 18, 2014 at 2:16 PM

      keep trollin’, trollin’, trollin’, trollin’ (what)
      keep trollin’, trollin’, trollin’, trollin’ (come on)
      keep trollin’, trollin’, trollin’, trollin’ (yeah)
      keep trollin’, trollin’, trollin’, trollin’

    • asimonetti88 - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:28 PM

      Are you saying he will sign with the Warriors so he will be closer to BALCO?

    • heat256 - Feb 18, 2014 at 5:22 PM

      You are living proof the internet requires an intelligence/maturity test to use it.

    • leahcima1 - Feb 18, 2014 at 6:41 PM

      Hey cantonjerk0. Here is a quiz for you. What active NBA player is a two time NBA Champ, four time MVP, Olympic Champ and in the conversation for GOAT and Mt. Rushmore? No fool, not Carmelo Anthony? Come on fool not Raymond Felton. No not Amare. JR Smith? You are dumb fool. Beyond help. Stick to what you know best, cleaning sewers. lol fool

  9. antistratfordian - Feb 18, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    Heat fans can’t get too comfortable. LeBron could’ve said “yes” to Steve Smith’s question and it would’ve been the same answer.

  10. kb2408 - Feb 18, 2014 at 7:01 PM

    Not too many people expect him to leave anyway. At least I don’t. I don’t think he wants to wear a 3rd uniform in his career. It is not that he has so much love for Miami. But this is good news to me….now he will never pass Kobe or Magic for titles.

  11. mp332 - Feb 18, 2014 at 8:46 PM


  12. mp332 - Feb 18, 2014 at 8:47 PM

    If your* argument

  13. cubb1 - Feb 19, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    Lebron said “at this point”, which means “when the Pacers beat us in the Eastern Conference Finals, I will be calling Jim Gray for another live interview.”

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