Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 10/19/12
MIAMI _ The speculation last season was LeBron James would return to Cleveland in 2014. He even added to it by not ruling out the possibility. But James wasn't adding anything Thursday to the latest story about where he could end up if he opts out of his contract in the summer of 2014. ESPN.com quoted unnamed NBA executives as believing the Lakers are gearing up for a run at James if Kobe Bryant has retired by then. There was a reason why James, who bolted the Cavaliers in 2010 for Miami, said nice things about Cleveland when he visited there last February. James, from nearby Akron, Ohio, wants to be liked again in a city that now hates him. As for the latest story, it's no surprise the Lakers would go after James if a Bryant retirement gives them cap room in 2014 and the King is again a free agent. The Lakers always go after the best players, and they often land them. But the story offered nothing from any sources that James has even an iota of interest in the Lakers. And it's far too early to speculate that he might in two years. "You're writing a story that's two years in the making, and this guy has an opportunity to do great things," Heat guard Ray Allen told FOX Sports Florida before a 105-78 preseason win over Detroit at AmericanAirlines Arena. "It's like at that point, what would make the Lakers so enticing? He has an opportunity to build a dynasty here. So that's a funky story." One supposes James could one day get the urge to star in a Hollywood movie at least better than "Shazam," the clunker Shaquille O'Neal was in after bolting to the Lakers as a free agent in 1996. But for now James is much more concerned about winning more titles for the Heat. "I'm here now I'm not worried about that," James said after Thursday's game when asked about the ESPN.com story. "That story, I don't know where it came from. But I understand it came up because of who I am. It's going to happen, but I'm not going to worry about it. I got to continue to make sure I stay focused with these guys and make sure we're ready for any challenge that comes upon us. James faced plenty of questions in his final seasons in Cleveland about where he might end up when he became a free agent in 2010. But it's a totally different situation now. The Cavaliers were unable to win a championship and it was hard for management to obtain top players to put alongside James. But James broke through last season to win his first ring in his second season of being teamed with fellow stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. "It's not frustrating," James said when asked if it's frustrating that speculation has resurfaced again about his future. "Guys are going to make 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 daily trying to get better as a team and trying to defend our title. So anyone can write a story. You have ESPN, and then it becomes credible and you do what you want to do." James, who is just the NBA's 13th-highest paid player this season at 17.545 million after he, Wade and Bosh all agreed to take slightly less than the maximum in 2010, can opt out of his contract in 2014 or 2015 before it expires in 2016. It would made sense for James to opt out in 2014 even if he wants to stay with the Heat because he could make more money by signing a true maximum deal. But it's far too early to speculate James could end up with the Lakers. Yes, it could give James a chance to play with Dwight Howard. But it all becomes moot anyway if Bryant, who has indicated he will play two more seasons, decides not to retire in 2014 and the Lakers don't have cap room. "They can leave my teammate alone, man," Wade said of rumors James could bolt to the Lakers in 2014. "I'm going with that. He's going to be here. We're straight. So they can go mess with someone else." Bosh also dismissed the rumors. "We can't really worry about all that stuff," Bosh said. "We're too busy doing special things right here, right now. If people want to write stories about that, that's all good and well. I hope people are entertained." Like it or not, speculation about James' future won't be going away. There is some concern about the health and the age of his top teammate, but Wade, 30, sure looked good Thursday with 21 points in 24 minutes against the Pistons. And there are questions about how committed the Heat will be to keep the Big Three intact after the more punitive NBA luxury tax kicks in next season. Now, the question is simply what will be the next story to surface about where James might land in 2014. You'd think Mark Cuban, whose Dallas Mavericks could then have oodles of cap room, would want to get in on this. Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter @christomasson
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Elliott domestic violence case being taken to city prosecutor

Belichick: Brady is not going to lose his starting job

Report: Brown 'confident' Steelers will rework his contract

Report: J.T. Barrett lost full scholarship over summer for DWI

Police escort helped Joey Gallo get to ballpark on time

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Agent: Bryant ‘heartbroken that he’s not allowed to play’

Report: Trent Baalke could lose job if 49ers don’t show progress

Lawsuit: Baylor players gang raped student, school knew

Jets, Ryan Fitzpatrick reportedly remain far apart

Eddie Lacy defends Mike McCarthy for weight loss comments

Red Sox nearly had serious catcher emergency in loss to Tigers

Reds 'picking up the pace' on Jay Bruce trade talks

Kirk Cousins has excellent take on franchise tag

Broncos DB during DUI arrest: I can't wait to tell Obama

NBA champ Cavs honored with 2,000-pound butter sculptures

John Daly dons super-patriotic outfit for Champions Dinner

Aaron Rodgers not inclined to talk about brother Jordan

Astros fan starts GoFundMe page to buy out Gomez contract

Durant told Westbrook he was returning to Thunder?

Five NFL teams set to rise up in 2016

Jeremy Lin reportedly looking to trademark phrase ‘Brook-Lin’

Matt Leinart engaged to actress Josie Loren

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker