MIAMI — For the Miami Heat, it’s all about June.
July can wait.
Four years ago, when LeBron James uttered that now-infamous phrase — “not two, not three, not four, not five ...” — about how many championships he hoped to win with the Heat, it was almost immediately turned into a punch line. It rings prophetic in some ways now, with the Heat back in the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive season.
How the Heat fare against in their NBA Finals rematch with the San Antonio Spurs might dictate what happens in July, when James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade can become free agents. A looming offseason of decisions has been a taboo subject for the Heat’s “Big 3” this season, and Wade insisted Monday that Miami’s stars have not said a word to one another about what may happen.
“I’m not lying,” he said.
Still, as long as Miami keeps winning, it seems logical the “Big 3” will stay together.
“I want to come back. That’s OK to say, I think,” Bosh said Monday after the Heat finished their first workout in preparation for the NBA Finals, which begin Thursday in San Antonio. “I can’t speak for anything else and I don’t want to take away from the subject at hand, but I like it here. It’s Miami. Enough said. People are dying to get here.”
Regardless of the outcome of this series, there will be changes to the Heat, which is an annual rite for just about every team. James, Wade and Bosh can opt out of their deals. Shane Battier is retiring, Ray Allen may think about doing the same. Mario Chalmers, James Jones and Rashard Lewis are notable free-agents-in-waiting.
Winning a third straight title could make some of those stay-or-go decisions pretty simple. And Wade believes Miami’s legacy has been secured.
“Whenever it’s all said and done, the legacy of this team, it’s going to be a great team,” Wade said. “It’s going to go down in history as an unbelievable team, not only in South Florida but in NBA history.”
Bosh, Wade and James all made it clear in September that they were not going to let the summer of 2014 turn into the circus that was the summer of 2010, when all three became free agents and decided to bring their talents together.
Entering the season, James said his teammates “understand where I stand” regarding the future. And Monday, James said he wasn’t going to let himself be distracted by thinking about what impact these NBA Finals will have on the legacy the Heat has created.
“No, because I live in the moment,” James said. “It’s almost the same with my individual accomplishments. I never really understand them. The only time I’ll be able to appreciate it is when I’m done playing the game.”
Bosh was the last player off the practice floor Monday. And when the conversation turned to what happens after these finals, he was reluctant, he said, to think about anything beyond Game 1 on Thursday.
“It’s difficult enough concentrating on trying to get back to this point, let alone trying to win it,” Bosh said. “We’ve done that before. All of us made a lot of mistakes in 2010, which is going to happen because that was our first time being in it. But now, not only are we vets in the league, with playoff experience, we know what to expect.”