(CBS Sports) – And so it begins. LeBron James walked into the AT&T center at 5:05 p.m. CT on Sunday night, and walked out of it six hours later with his third Finals defeat. You know what comes next.
As was the case four years ago, his “team” huddled near the arena exit for the season-ending hugs and handshakes. And by “team,” we do not mean the Miami Heat — just as LeBron did not mean the Miami Heat, and as he did not mean the Cleveland Cavaliers after he was eliminated by the Celtics in the 2010 playoffs.
It was not a stretch, according to one of those team members, to say that James is leaving his options wide open. He and his family love Miami, he said, but he was not prepared to commit to anything beyond the moment — not a minute beyond the June 30 deadline for the Heat’s Big Three to terminate the contracts they signed when they teamed up in July 2010 and changed the NBA landscape.