LeBron James said he is not thinking about fleeing Miami to join the Los Angeles Lakers in two years, when/if Kobe Bryant retires. The reigning NBA MVP was forced to address such fodder because such fodder floated around the league Thursday.
“I’m here, and this is what it’s all about,” James said after the Heat’s exhibition game Thursday night. “I’m preparing for this season, preparing to defend our title and that’s it. This is where, I’m here now.”
ESPN floated that NBA executives believe the Lakers were positioning themselves to make a bid for James after the 2013-2014 season, which is when Bryant has hinted he would retire and when James would be a free agent.
James, you might recall, have been through free agency before and knows better than anyone that the focus will be on him as 2014 approaches. He seemed confused as to how he could be the center of such speculation two years in advance.
“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. “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.”
Having been through this before, James surely will be sure to handle it with the utmost care. You can bet there will not be a “The Decision II” when he does decide what he will do.
“It’s not frustrating,” he said. “Guys are making stories every day. It doesn’t matter to me. I’m true to my teammates. I’m here and this is what it’s all about — us building and trying to get better as a team. Anyone can write a story. If you have ESPN, then it becomes credible. So do what you’ve got to do.”