LeBron James can't leave Miami yet.
Sure, he can opt out of his contract with the Heat, which multiple media sources have reported he intends to do once NBA free agency starts next week.
But as far as actually taking his talents to another team, the four-time league MVP just can't do it.
James may have led the Heat to two championships in four years, but he still has unfinished business in Miami. A lot of it.
Surely you remember his promise to the fans that packed American Airlines Arena on July 9, 2010, the day after James announced he would be joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in South Beach.
In regard to the number of championships the Big Three would deliver for the Heat, James famously said, "Not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven ..." before trailing off.
So far, he and his cohorts haven't even lived up to the first part of that statement. After losing to the San Antonio Spurs, four games to one, in the NBA Finals earlier this month, the Heat are still stuck on two.
If James bolted now, without even trying to win at least six more championships, wouldn't that make him a liar?
Maybe not. Here's what James told the crowd right after promising at least eight championships:
"You know, I'm not just up here blowing smoke ... because that's not what I'm about. I'm about business, and we believe we can win multiple championships if we take care of business and do it the right way."
Aha. Doing business the right way. Well, James has certainly taken care of his business during his four years with the Heat. But word has it that he's trying to put pressure on Pat Riley and the Heat front office to do the same by providing the aging team with more youth and depth.
If they do, then James can re-sign with the Heat and go back to trying to accumulate championships.
But if they don't, who could blame James for not wanting to take another pay cut to play in Miami? It's not good business, and it's not what he promised Heat fans four years ago.
Sorry to have ever doubted you, King James.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times