CLEVELAND -- Miami Heat forward LeBron James is more worried about the impending playoffs, and less about where he will spend the next few years of his NBA career should he elect to become a free agent after the 2013-2014 season.
In Cleveland for tonight's game against the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena, James talked about the importance of breaking out of a funk that has seen the Heat lose five of their last seven games, including their last three on the road, at Houston, 106-103, on Mar. 4, at San Antonio, 111-87, on Mar. 6, and Chicago, 95-88, on Mar. 9.
"As for right now, it's too hard for me to think about," James said of returning to Cleveland. "We've got 20 or less games until we gear up for no sleep for two months, hopefully. For me to try and take my mind somewhere else when I know what's on its way, it's almost impossible."
Tuesday's trip to Cleveland was the second in the last 10 days for James, as he came back for the jersey retirement ceremony of his former teammate with the Cavaliers and Heat, center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, on Saturday, March 8.
"That's why I was here," James said. "I knew it was going to be a special night, and it couldn't happen to a better person. I think (former Cavaliers general manager) Wayne Embry said it best. It wasn't about the guy as far as a basketball player. They drafted a guy, and that was big time.
"I wouldn't say strange because the night couldn't be strange because of what I was there for, to support Z in that sense and see his jersey go up in the rafters. The best part was seeing his mom and dad again. I haven't seen them in a while, and seeing Gordon Gund again, as well, the guy who drafted me."
Before heading to Miami following the 2010 playoffs, James set Cavaliers franchise records for points scored (15,251), scoring average per game (27.8), field goals made (5,415), field goals attempts (11,403), free throws made (3,650), free throws attempted (4,917), three-point field goals attempts (2,344), steals (955), and minutes played (22,119). He also holds seven single-season records and is responsible for 18 of the 20 highest single-game point totals in Cavaliers history.
After talking about what it meant to be back in Cleveland for Ilgauskas' retirement ceremony, James was asked if he could one day see his jersey join his former teammate's in the rafters at Quicken Loans Arena.
"It's not up to me to be concerned about it or to think about," James said. "At the end of the day, it's something we, as professional athletes, dream about, to be able to have your jersey retired in a building for whatever franchise you were able to play for. It means you were able to be successful, both on and off the floor."