IT didn’t take long after Golden State’s championship-sealing Game 4 win for the rest of the NBA world to turn its attention to the man who — even in defeat — can dominate the headlines.
The Warriors dismantled Cleveland 108-85 to sweep the Finals 4-0 and consign LeBron James and his teammates to more heartbreak. Dubs fans were cheering but everyone else was looking at The King.
James revealed post-match he “pretty much played the last three games with a broken hand” after punching a board in the locker room following a traumatic Game 1 defeat. One mystery was answered but another remained unsolved.
Read: LeBron’s revelation after Warriors’ win
James becomes an unrestricted free agent in July and everyone wants to know where he’ll end up next season. A third Finals defeat in four campaigns to the Warriors may convince the 33-year-old his time at Cleveland is up, while franchises like Miami, Philadelphia and the LA Lakers have all emerged as contenders to win the star’s services.
But James wasn’t able to share too much information with the hungry press pack as he digested a disappointing end to the season.
“I have no idea at this point,” James told reporters when asked if he’d played his last game for the Cavs. “The one thing that I’ve always done is consider my family, understanding where my boys are at this age.
“They were a lot younger the last time I made a decision like this four years ago.
“I’ve got a teenage boy, a pre-teen and a little girl right now that wasn’t around as well (four years ago).
“My family is a huge part of whatever I’ll decide to do.
“I don’t have an answer for your right now.
“I’m not going to take you throughout the whole process. That’s not fun. But when I decide what I’m going to do with my future, my family and the folks that have been with me for the last, you know, 20 years, pretty much, will have a say.
“Then it ultimately will come down to me, and so we’ll see what happens.”
Asked if his business was finished, James called that a “trick question” but noted the 2016 championship victory fed his hunger for more trophy ceremonies.
“I still have so much to give to the game,” James said. “Like I said, when you have a goal and you’re able to accomplish that goal, it made me even more hungry to continue to try to win championships, and I still want to be in championship mode. I think I’ve shown this year why I will still continue to be in championship mode.”
James can take up a $US35.6 million player option with the Cavaliers next season or opt to test his worth in free agency waters for the third time in his illustrious career.
He left Cleveland in 2010 and headed to the Heat, where he won two championships, before returning to Ohio in 2014.
In the four seasons since he has lost in the Finals three times — all to Golden State — but led the Cavs to their first NBA title with a 4-3 win over the Warriors in 2016.
WHERE MIGHT LEBRON END UP?
1. MIAMI HEAT — He has a chance to reunite with a coach he respects in Erik Spoelstra and the player he admires most, Dwayne Wade. A Heat championship next season would be James’ third in five seasons with Miami, equalling Golden State’s total.
2. NEW YORK KNICKS — Is the man some call the greatest of all time powerful enough to return the Knicks to prominence? Maybe it wouldn’t be as hard as most think. The Knicks are better off now than the Cavaliers were four years ago.
3. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS — The up-and-coming 76ers not only have the means to sign LeBron, but also enough young talent to escort him to a ninth straight NBA Finals, including Australian Ben Simmons and NBA All-Star Joel Embiid.
4. CHICAGO BULLS — The best way to silence the chatter over whether he’s better than Michael Jordan would be to beat (or at least equal) Jordan at his own game — and that means taking the Bulls back to the top.
5. LA LAKERS — Relocating to Los Angeles means he can hand-pick a sidekick of his choice to go with a promising young supporting cast.
— with AAP, AFP