MIAMI — LeBron James has this summer on his mind, and is already starting to plan for next season.
The summer of 2014, that can wait.
James said Tuesday that he is not thinking about the possibility of becoming a free agent in 12 months, though he did acknowledge that the prospects of competing with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Erik Spoelstra and Pat Riley for several more championships with the Miami Heat is more than a tiny bit intriguing.
“That’s the goal,” James said. “That’s the ultimate finish. And we all hope that can happen, obviously.”
James’ final interview session of this season revealed plenty in 17 minutes, including that he’s already feeling an itch to get back on the basketball court after just a few days off, that he’ll stop at nothing to give longtime girlfriend Savannah Brinson anything she wants on their wedding day in a couple months, and that he’s making no secret of his hope that the Heat bring back at least the majority of this year’s championship roster.
The most interesting news, however, was when he spoke of his short- and long-term plans. First, he’s vowing to come back better next season, which is no small promise from someone with four MVP awards, two Finals MVP awards and who carries the tag of “best player in the world.” And then next summer, it certainly sounds as if he’s going to give the prospects of staying in Miami a good, long look.
“This is what we came here for, so that would be the ultimate,” James said. “But you can never … I don’t know, life changes, things happen, and we have to be prepared for that. But this is what we all want to be here for, that’s to be able to compete for a championship each and every year. And if we can do that, then it’d be awesome.”
The team gathered for physicals and a quick meeting on Tuesday, and now begins the process of scattering for vacation and other business. James will make his annual trip with Nike to China next month, not long after Wade does some business there.
“I’m going to come back a better player,” James said, “because I owe it to my teammates. … I’m obsessed with success.”
So he gets one ring when next season starts, and another a couple months beforehand, when he and Brinson finally tie the knot.
He’s let his fiancee do most of the planning, though James has been involved in some decisions. His approach has been steadfast since proposing shortly after the clock struck midnight and the calendar flipped to Jan. 1, 2012 — it’s her day.
“I’m involved enough to where everything’s going to go right,” James said. “The most important person is Savannah. She’s happy, then I’m happy. That’s all that matters. I don’t really care about nothing else. I don’t really care about nobody else there on that day besides her.”
Then comes a new season — and the same questions he heard going into his infamous ‘Decision’ summer of 2010, when he left Cleveland for Miami.
“I’ve been in this position before,” James said. “I’ve heard it before. It can’t get any worse than my season before I became a free agent in 2010.”