James focused on task at hand, not free agency

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LeBron James, seen here celebrating as Team LeBron defeated Team Stephen 148-145 at the 2018 NBA All-Star Game in February, has now passed basketball legend Michael Jordan's record for consecutive games with at least 10 points (AFP Photo/Robyn Beck)
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Los Angeles (AFP) - Cleveland superstar LeBron James said Friday he's focused on the Cavaliers' bid for an NBA finals return, and isn't thinking about a possible move as a free agent after this season.

"I've still got too much work to do here," James told reporters in Los Angeles when asked if his possible free agency could be a distraction. "One thing about me and my career ... I handle my business accordingly, and when that time comes, I'll take care of that.

"But right now, my job right now is to get these guys prepared for the Clippers tonight and then how we can continue to get better going down the stretch."

James made his remarks on the University of California at Los Angeles, where he plays pickup basketball when he's in town during the off-season.

On Thursday, The Ringer published a story listing Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Houston and Cleveland as the four cities that James will entertain this summer.

The 33-year-old's ties to Los Angeles have sparked speculation that he would consider a move to the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent, forsaking Cleveland again as he did in moving to the Miami Heat for four seasons before returning.

A Lakers season-ticket holder posted billboards in Los Angeles this week encouraging such a move, their #LABron theme mimicking similar billboards recently posted in Cleveland by a Pennsylvania business that would like to see James link up with the 76ers.

"I understand that I'm a free agent at the end of the summer, so I understand the frenzy that comes with it," James said, noting that the Lakers' salary cap space further fuelled speculation that they could lure him.

James is producing one of the best seasons of his career, averaging 27 points, 9 assists and 8.4 rebounds per game, but Cleveland are just third in the Eastern Conference behind Toronto and Boston, who have both clinched their playoff berths.

The Lakers, the second-most titled franchise in the history of the NBA, are still finding their way in the post-Kobe Bryant era, and need a star to anchor their young talents.

"Listen, I'm 15 years into my career, and fans and cities want me to play for their team or have dreams," James said. "It's flattering more than anything, that a fan of a team or somewhere would want me to play for their city, so it's very flattering."