Miami Heat's Chris Bosh (L) and LeBron James wait to enter the game after a timeout as a San Antonio Spurs' fan mocks James during the third quarter in Game 5 of their NBA Finals basketball series in San Antonio, Texas, June 15, 2014. Photo by Mike Stone, Reuters.
SAN ANTONIO - Moments after the San Antonio Spurs completed their demolition of the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, speculation about whether the LeBron James-led Big Three would stay in South Florida kicked into high gear.
James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are all eligible to become free agents this off-season but, following Sunday's crushing loss to the Spurs, they deflected questions about their NBA futures.
Despite representing the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals all four seasons they have played together, expectations for Miami are so high James felt compelled to defend the team's 2014 season, which failed to produce a third straight title.
"You know, we're not discrediting what we were able to accomplish in these four years," he said.
"We lost one, we won two, and we lost another one. (I'll) take 50 percent in four years in championships any day. Obviously, you want to win all of them, but that's just the nature of the game. You win some, you lose some."
The Heat were dominated in this year's best-of-seven finals, losing in five games. Each San Antonio win was by at least 15 points, while Miami's lone victory was a 98-96 thriller.
James played well against the Spurs, scoring 31 points with 10 rebounds and five assists in Sunday's series-ending, 104-87 drubbing. Wade and Bosh, however, were inconsistent, forcing James to shoulder more of the load than usual.
The 29-year-old James, a four-time NBA MVP, said he and Wade did not know what to expect when they decided to become teammates years ago.
"We just knew that we felt as individuals that we could do it, that we could put our egos to the side and not care about the individual part of the game and become a great team and become two leaders of that team," said James.
"It's been a hell of a ride in these four years. And when we decided to play together, we didn't say, 'OK, let's try for four years.' We said, 'Let's just play together and let's see what happens.'"
Bosh said, albeit cautiously, that he wanted the trio to stay together in Miami.
"We've got plenty of time, hopefully," said the 30-year-old, nine-time All-Star. "We're all young men and hopefully we're all healthy. This year I can't complain. I made it through healthy with no nicks, and scratches, bumps or bruises."
The past winter James said he couldn't see himself leaving Miami. Now, if he's thinking of bolting for, say, Los Angeles, where the Lakers have some room under the salary cap, he's not saying.
"I will deal with my summer when I get to that point," he told reporters. "Me and my team will sit down and deal with it. I love Miami. My family loves it. But obviously right now that's not even what I'm thinking about.
"You guys are trying to find answers. I'm not going to give you one. I'm just not going to give it to you. When I get to that point, I'll deal with it."
(Editing by Frank Pingue)