"I'm happy where I am now," he said, "but you can't predict the future." He made the surprising comments a year and a half after "The Decision," at a Heat practice before the team's game against the Cavaliers in Cleveland Friday.
A year and a half after “The Decision,” Miami Heat superstar LeBron James opened the door to a possible return to the Cleveland Cavaliers Thursday, saying “it would be great” to play for his hometown team again.
James, back in Cleveland before the Heat’s game against the Cavs Friday night, was asked by a reporter if he could ever see himself playing for his hometown team again.
“I don’t know. I think it would be great. It would be fun to play in front of these fans again,” James said. “I had a lot of fun times, like I said, in my seven years here. But you can’t predict the future.”
James, 27, said he hopes to stay healthy.
“I’m here as a Miami Heat player and I’m happy where I am now. But I don’t rule that out in no sense,” he said of a return. “And if I decide to come back, hopefully the fans will accept me.”
James ditched Cleveland to come to Miami as a free agent in July 2010, in what many Cavaliers fans saw as a betryal – as did owner Dan Gilbert, who savaged him afterward.
James made the comments during the Heat's practice in the same gym where, he pointed out, he practiced as a rookie in 2003-2004.
His remarks are sure to rile up Heat fans, most of whom scoffed at a report last month that suggested that James and Miami president Pat Riley had butted heads and are not getting along.
Not that any return to Cleveland is imminent. James has made no attempt to patch things up with Gilbert, who famously posted a scathing Dear John letter to James after he fled the Cleve for South Beach. The two have not even spoken to each other since July 2010.
"I don't have any hard feelings. He said what he said and I've moved on," James said. "But there's been no attempt to patch things up."
With Miami set to visit Cleveland Friday for the third time since The Decision, James said he is not as concerned with the vitriol of Cavs fans as he was last season.
"It doesn't sting anymore," James said. "The booing isn't as bad as it was last year so it's not even a big deal."
Teammate Dwyane Wade gave what will probably go down as the best response to the entire episode. When asked if he could imagine James with the Cavs again, he simply replied, "Anything is possible. Hopefully, I'm retired."
Indeed. Heat fans better wait before jumping to conclusions, though. James is under contract with the Heat through the 2013-2014 season.