Now that the NBA Fi­nals are over, the bet­ter show be­gins: Find­ing out where LeBron James will end up this year dur­ing free agency.

Star player of­fers no hints on where he might be headed

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - SPORTS+ - BY MARC STEIN

CLEVE­LAND — The big­gest rev­e­la­tion from LeBron James af­ter what might have been the fi­nal game he ever plays for the Cleve­land Cava­liers had noth­ing to do with his pend­ing free agency. It was health-re­lated.

It turns out that the nasty poke in the left eye that James in­curred from Dray­mond Green in Game 1 of the NBA Fi­nals was not the most se­vere in­jury he suf­fered that night.

From the postgame podium late Fri­day, af­ter his Cava­liers were mer­ci­lessly broomed out of the fi­nals

by the Golden State War­riors, James had an ad­mis­sion to share: He hurt his right hand badly af­ter that crush­ing Game 1 de­feat by punch­ing a white­board.

“I let emo­tions get the best of me,” he said. “Pretty much played the last three games with a bro­ken hand.”

That should help ex­plain why James, as he left Fri­day night’s hum­bling 108-85 de­feat with 4 minutes, 3 sec­onds still on the clock, con­grat­u­lated ev­ery War­rior on the floor for the team’s 4-0 sweep and back-to-back cham­pi­onships by ex­tend­ing his left hand in­stead of his right for shakes and slaps.

Yet that was the ex­tent of the head­line-mak­ing an­swers on a dour evening at Quicken Loans Arena. The lo­cals ap­pear to be brac­ing for an­other James de­par­ture, judg­ing by the long stretches of sec­ond­half si­lence in the build­ing, but no good clues were forth­com­ing on the real cu­rios­ity.

Asked if he in­deed planned to leave the Cava­liers for a sec­ond time when he hits the open mar­ket July 1, James said, “I have no idea at this point.” Asked what he would pri­or­i­tize when mak­ing his third ca­reer foray into free agency, James of­fered a lengthy an­swer about the need to con­sult his wife and three chil­dren — “My fam­ily is a huge part of what­ever I’ll de­cide to do,” he said — but then made it clear he was not at all ready to walk away from the chal­lenge of try­ing to top­ple the War­riors at the age of 33.

“I still want to be in cham­pi­onship mode,” James said. “I think I’ve shown this year why I will still con­tinue to be in cham­pi­onship mode.”

Does the fam­ily part of the equa­tion mean stay­ing with the tal­ent-shy Cava­liers is still a pos­si­bil­ity? Could it ac­tu­ally mean the Los An­ge­les Lak­ers are the true fa­vorites to sign James be­cause his fam­ily also has a home in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia that it is known to love? Or, is James deter­mined to go any­where he has to go for the best shot at as­sem­bling a squad far closer to Golden State’s level than the Cava­liers ap­pear ca­pa­ble of get­ting?

“We’ll see what hap­pens,” James said more than once at his fi­nal news con­fer­ence of the sea­son.


James broke his hand in frus­tra­tion af­ter Cleve­land’s Game 1 loss.

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