Everything LeBron James says this season is going to be parsed like a Presidential speech — every word will be seen as talk of free agency, whether he meant it or not.
Take, for example, what LeBron told Men’s Week magazine in a recent interview, when asked about where he might want to retire (literally the last paragraph of the article).
“I miss the slower pace back home but have grown used to my new city’s little perks like fresh fish and sweet fruit,” he said, already thinking of a retirement homestead. “It will definitely be someplace warm. I don’t want to go back to cold winters.”
If he doesn’t want to retire somewhere cold, what about next summer when he’s a free agent….
Stop. Just stop.
Next summer LeBron James will make a business decision, one that most likely has him saying he trusts Pat Riley to keep a winning team around him in Miami and he wants to stay put. (You think the ultimate closer Pat Riley just might be able to convince guys to come play with LeBron in Miami where they can compete for rings, enjoy the perks of Miami in addition to fresh fish, plus have no state tax hitting them?)
If he does decide to leave the Cavaliers, Lakers and plenty of others will take their swings (they will take their swings anyway). Any move would be a calculated business decision, one about building his brand — part of that calculation is winning rings, but it’s not the only thing. Winter weather’s role is pretty far down that list. Where he decides to live when he retires is another matter entirely.
Not that it will stop the speculation.