MIAMI (CBSSports) — Even for the rumor mongering world of the NBA, it’s a little surreal to see a player forced to dispel chatter about a move that’s two years away.
But that’s what LeBron James did Thursday.
After an ESPN.com report pegged the Lakers as positioning for a run at LeBron in 2014 assuming he were to opt out of his Heat contract, LeBron did his best to put a lid on it all, for now.
“I’m here, and this is what it’s all about,” James told reporters after Miami’s preseason win over Detroit. “I’m preparing for this season, preparing to defend our title and that’s it. This is where, I’m here now.”
It all stemmed from rival executives saying the Lakers were likely looking to James to be Kobe Bryant’s replacement if the Laker star were to actually hang up his sneakers in two years, as he indicated to CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger.
LeBron’s no fool though. He’s been through this game pre-decision and understands that the spotlight will focus on him as the calendar turns closer to 2014. He’s prepared for the speculation and the noise that will come with impending free agency.
“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.”
LeBron has already been through the rumor ringer before and likely won’t blink an eye over this. The Laker story is only the first in what’s sure to be about 500.
“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.”
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