LeBron James can become a free agent during the summer of 2014 if he opts out of the final two years of his contract with the Miami Heat, but he won't discuss his options and doesn't know what will happen when the time comes for his next decision. James will try to put a stop to questions regarding his future and wants to remain focused on leading the Heat to a third straight championship, reports Chris Broussard of ESPN:
"I owe it to myself, I owe it my teammates and I owe it to the Miami Heat to stay focused," he said. "As a leader, I'm not even going to let that side of the business get me unfocused on what I'm trying to do and that's trying to win another championship.
"I'm going to try to [stop the discussion about free agency], but you always have reporters who are going to always bring it up. They're going to change the question and make it sound like something else. But it will get to a point, if I continue to hear it, where I will say, 'Hey guys, I've answered the question and out of respect, let's talk about this after the season."'
Take a trip through time, back to November 2009 when James was still with the Cleveland Cavaliers and facing free agency at the conclusion of the season, and he had the exact same stance -- nearly word for word, as reported by Antonio Gonzalez of the Associated Press:
"This free agent talk is getting old. It's getting old and I think I'm going to stop. Tonight will be the last time I answer any more free agent questions until the offseason," James said.
"I think I owe it to myself, and I owe it to my teammates. It's just getting old. I'm focusing on this season, and this is going to be a really good season for us. I don't want anymore distractions for my teammates, for my organization, for my family. This will be the last time I answer a free agent question for the rest of the year."
Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade also have opt-out clauses in their contracts to decide on in the summer of 2014, meaning any of Miami's "Big Three" could decide to become free agents after their fourth season together -- a tenure that has already featured three straight NBA Finals appearances for the trio.
James would be opting out of a guaranteed $42.6 million in combined salary to test free agency, though the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA champion shouldn't have much trouble finding a franchise to cover that.