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Tuesday, February 18, 2014
LeBron James staying in present

Associated Press

MIAMI -- LeBron James cannot envision a scenario in which he would leave the Miami Heat this summer, although he still plans to assess his needs and his future after the season.

James made the comments in a wide-ranging interview with NBA TV. The Heat star can choose to become a free agent after this season by exercising an option in the contract he signed with Miami in the summer of 2010.

Heat
LeBron James told NBA TV that all he can do at this point "is just worry about what's at hand, and that's winning another championship."

Asked by interviewer Steve Smith whether he can picture himself being anywhere else, James did not seem to hesitate before answering.

"At this point, I can't," James said. "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."

James discussed several topics in the interview, including what his sources of motivation are, ways he thinks his game can still improve, how he handles expectations, the struggles of his first season with Miami and his background growing up in Akron, Ohio.

Some of his most telling comments revolved around the fallout that came after the Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals. James has often told the story about how he spent the next two weeks in near isolation, overcome by the disappointment of losing the title series.

In the interview, James also revealed how he started to get past that loss, saying that Dwyane Wade -- with whom he clashed at times over roles on the team in that first season -- urged him to join him in the Bahamas for a getaway.

"We had some great conversations there," James said. "D-Wade was like, 'Man, in order for us to be great, you have to be the guy.'"

James said he was slightly taken aback by that.

"We're talking about Wade County here," James said, referring to what Miami-Dade County starting calling itself in Wade's honor. "We're talking about the man who won a championship here, who's been a six-time All-Star, you want me to take the keys? And he said, 'Absolutely.'"

With that, James said he shed the villain role he had shouldered that season, returned home and went into the gym to get started on the next season. The Heat have won two NBA titles since.

"I don't play for what people expect for me to do anymore," James said. "I want to be the greatest of all time, and that's just my mindset."