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LeBron James says 'I can't' imagine leaving Miami

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

LeBron James thinks Miami is still A-OK. (USATSI)
LeBron James thinks Miami is still A-OK. (USATSI)

With his second massive free-agency option approaching in July should he opt out, LeBron James said in an interview with NBATV that he "can't" imagine leaving the Miami Heat for greener pastures.

"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."

via LeBron James: 'I can't' imagine leaving Miami.

Of course, James likely would have said the same thing in February of 2010, before he left the Cavaliers on national television, forming the Big 3 in Miami and setting off a firestorm of controversy. So it's going to depend on how this season shakes out, whether the Heat can win a third title, how Dwyane Wade is feeling physically, how much he wants to re-sign for, and what the Heat can do. There's also the matter of Chris Bosh who could also opt out and might decide to pursue the max money he declined to get the Heat room to build a contender.

He's left himself outs with this quote, which is what he does. But it should also stand as an indication of where the market is for him. The Lakers were expected to be in contention, and still are technically, but they gave a massive extension to Kobe Bryant and are a mess otherwise. The Cavaliers were expected to have a chance of getting him back, but they've thrown in with Luol Deng which seemed on the surface at least to be an admission King James isn't returning. (Deng is an expiring contract so technically they'll have cap room.)

While James' people have made it clear that they can force their way to any team, the othe options probably aren't better than Miami. Are the Clippers still as good as Miami with Chris Paul if they're forced to trade Blake Griffin in a deal for James? Does James want any part of the Knicks' mess?

So right now, he "can't" imagine it. But there's a lot of time between now and July 1 for James' imagination to get more creative. This story's not over yet, it just may not be as sensational as 2010.

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