LeBron James is merely a potential free agent at the end of the 2013-14 season, and until the Miami Heat All-Star hits the open market, the door is closed to questions regarding decisions in his future.
"For me, being a leader of this team, I owe it to this organization, to my teammates, to not get involved in it, to not talk about it," James said Monday at the Miami Heat media day, following coach Erik Spoelstra's meet and greet with the press. "I'm not going to address it."
James made his only previous soiree to free agency a global event, of course, when he staged "The Decision," a made-for-TV hour-long special that aired nationally. It was on that program where James famously told the world he was "taking my talents to South Beach."
In three seasons with Miami, James has three NBA Finals appearances and back-to-back titles. The Heat embark on a three-peat mission with much the same roster, one centered around the nucleus of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
The entire "Big Three" can opt out of the deals they signed in July 2010, joining forces as free agents and taking less-than-maximum contracts to do it. The goal was multiple NBA titles. Now that James bagged a pair of Larry O'Brien Championship trophies, expectations remain championship or bust.
"We have to focus on now and not become obsessed on the future, because it's unknown," Spoelstra said. "We'll address it, but we don't need to belabor it. Our guys aren't naive. When you have a team that has been built like this, we've been trained and conditioned for this moment probably more than any other team."
Spoelstra signed a contract extension and team president Pat Riley gave him a few new pieces to work with on this season's roster. Greg Oden, the oft-injured No. 1 overall pick in 2007, and Michael Beasley, the troubled and well-traveled No. 2 pick in the 2008 draft, potentially give Spoelstra extra depth and versatility to create lineups capable of winning when James and Wade are not playing at their peak.
"The No. 1 thing," James said, "is health. If we're healthy, it doesn't matter who you put in front of us."
Wade was closer to healthy last season than public perception might have implied.
"It was bruising," he said of his late-season and playoff limitations. "It wasn't no more than that. When it comes to training camp, I'll be going at my pace. I'm feeling a lot better. I worked very hard this summer."
Wade said "I'm the second option" to James and will do different things than he has in the past. One of those won't be selling James for a second time on the perks of remaining a tag team.
"LeBron James' decision is LeBron James' decision," Wade said. "Don't try to put that pressure on me."
Notes: Spoelstra said Oden is spending "five hours a day" at the team facility for treatment on his problematic knees. The team is not putting any projection on his first practice or game but will monitor his progress weekly. ... Wade is Beasley's teammate for a second time. Now 24, Beasley, who Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers called "a matchup problem every night," returns with less pressure on the court. He signed Sept. 11, eight days after he was waived by the Suns. "I think he's the spark plug this team needed from a talent standpoint," Wade said.