LeBron James sure knows how to fuel the fire.
Minutes after the Warriors won their second title in three years, disposing of the Cavaliers in five games, James fielded a question about Golden State’s juggernaut and how it related to his future.
But James opted to address the subjects separately, first talking about his future.
“Well, it’s a two-sided question because for me personally. … I don’t know,” he said. “I need to sit down and figure this thing out. And so I don’t know as far as me personally right now.”
That opening salvo came and went without a follow-up, perhaps because it was so unexpected. But now, it is being dissected and analyzed and fueling even more speculation about LeBron’s future.”
Even before the Cavs were ousted, but soon after it was apparent they were overmatched by the Warriors and would, at best, steal one game, talk turned to the summer of 2018 when LeBron will become a free agent.
Many believe because he did fulfill a promise when he brought Cleveland a title in 2016, there’s is a strong possibility LeBron will bolt the Cavaliers for a second time. And while the expectations are LeBron taking his talents to Southern California because of his business and entertainment ventures (and he does own a home in the L.A. area), the Miami Heat continue remain on the periphery of the conversation. The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski speculated on his podcast that after the Clippers and Lakers, perhaps the Heat could be in the mix for LeBron once again.
“The possibility of Miami again based on what that team looks like and where they are. … would Dwyane Wade go back there?” he said after mentioning L.A.
And if LeBron James did return to Miami four years after snubbing Pat Riley and penning his famous ‘I’m coming home’ letter, Heat fans, apparently, would quickly learn to bury the hatchet.
I asked on Twitter “If LeBron called Riley and said he wanted to return to the Heat what should Riley say?”
And 604 people voted with 67 percent favoring the response: “Welcome back, King.” While 33 percent opted for: “Nah, we’re good.”
LeBron’s first stint in Miami ended with four Finals appearances in four years and two titles, 2012, 2013. But LeBron will be 33 next summer. He is set to earn about $33.8 million next season before he almost certainly opts out of the final year before hitting the NBA lottery one more time in his career. And if he opts not to sign the super max with the Cavaliers and leaves Cleveland, L.A. certainly looks like the most attractive option.
The problem the Lakers would have is clearing enough space to fit in LeBron and Paul George, who will be their top target next summer. But LeBron has stated his desire to someday team up with friends Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony and the advantage the Clippers have is they possibly could get three of the four together. All they would have to do is retain Paul this summer and then make a play for LeBron and Wade next summer. Wade is expected to return to Chicago this summer for the final year of his two-year deal.
But, what if? What if the Heat have a successful summer, jump back in the picture in the East and in 12 months clear the cap space to fit in LeBron and bring back Wade.
It certainly isn’t the most likely scenario buy you can never say never.
And if it happens, Heat fans will be partying like its 2010.
Oh, and here is the rest of LeBron’s answer from Monday, also hinting that he may need to move on to have any chance of beating the Warriors.
“But as far as that team, they’re going to be here for a while,” he said. “Pretty much all their big-name guys are in their 20s and they don’t show any signs of slowing down. So there’s going to be a lot of teams that’s trying to figure out ways to put personnel together to try and match that if they’re able to actually face them in a playoff series, both Eastern Conference and Western Conference. Because they’re built for. … from my eyes, they’re built to last a few years. So we’ll see.”