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Spoelstra: Only love for LeBron

The SportsXchange

Head coach Erik Spoelstra is happy for LeBron James, he said in his first public comments since the Miami Heat lost the four-time MVP in free agency.

"He seemed at peace with the decision," Spoelstra said in Las Vegas at the Heat's summer league appearance. "We don't have any regrets. He shouldn't have any regrets. It was a historic four-year run."

James signed a two-year contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers but in an essay written last week said the decision was more about being a presence in his home state and the Akron region than it was basketball.

In response, the Heat moved quickly to retain All-Star forward Chris Bosh and Monday re-signed franchise cornerstone Dwyane Wade to a two-year deal. Wade, who was with James in the days before his return to the Cavs was made public, will have new mates in Miami this season. Luol Deng, who was an All-Star in Chicago but struggled with injuries and consistency last season with Cleveland, brings a proven veteran on the wing to complement Wade. Point guard Mario Chalmers re-signed, forward Udonis Haslem is expected to do the same, and team president Pat Riley brought in forwards Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger in an effort to build more depth than Spoelstra had to work with last year.

Of course, any rotation will be diminished by not having James running the show.

"This league does teach you that it's inevitable that there's constant change and you always have to continue to embrace change, adapt with change," Spoelstra said. "This is a big, monumental change that we didn't necessarily anticipate but you have to respect it because when you're a free agent in this league you have the right to make a decision that's best for you and your family. When he made that decision that was best for his family, where his heart is, all you can do from our side is respond with respect and love."

Spoelstra said there will be a time for him to meet with James, with whom he said he shares a strong bond. James wrote in his essay that the rumors of peripheral factors, such as friction with Spoelstra or Riley, were "absolutely not true."

"You forge bonds through competitions and through great experiences like we've had. There will be a time for that. My message wouldn't be any different whenever that time comes."

Spoelstra coached two seasons in Miami before James arrived in 2010, posting a 90-74 record with two first-round playoff losses.

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