Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James was emphatic Friday in calling a report linking him to a possible move to the Golden State Warriors as a free agent was “nonsense”.
The three-time NBA champion, speaking to reporters after Cavaliers practice, said his first reaction to Wednesday’s ESPN report that said James would consider meeting with the Warriors was laughter.
But it was clear he didn’t think the topic was, in fact, a laughing matter.
“It’s nonsense,” said James, who can opt out of his contract and become a free agent when this season concludes. “It’s a non-story. I think it’s a discredit to what I’m trying to do here.
“My focus right now is trying to figure out how we can become a championship caliber team over these next few months.”
Cleveland are currently third in the NBA’s Eastern Conference and coming off a tough January that saw them finish 6-8 in the month and lose Kevin Love to a broken hand that will sideline him some eight weeks.
The Cavaliers have played the Warriors in the last three NBA Finals, falling in 2015 and last year and triumphing in 2016 to give James a third championship after he won two with the Miami Heat.
The four-time NBA Most Valuable Player said he knew it was inevitable that speculation over whether he might choose to again leave Cleveland as a free agent was inevitable, but he thought that put an unfair burden on his teammates.
“For them to have to hear that stuff every single day about my free agency, I apologize to them,” James said, adding that he would handle his “summer situation when my summer gets here”.
In the meantime, he advised against putting stock in second-hand reports.
“If you don’t hear something coming from my voice, then it’s not true,” he said. “I don’t give a damn how close they are, if it’s my kids, my wife or whatever. If it’s not from me, it’s not true.”
James famously departed Cleveland for Miami as a free agent in July of 2010.
In June of 2014 he opted out of his contract with the Heat and returned to Cleveland as an unrestricted free agent. – Agence France-Presse