Even after an early playoff exit, LeBron James’ future with the Los Angeles Lakers is not in question. However, if the opportunity ever came up for a reunion with the Miami Heat, the team would welcome the four-time MVP back with open arms, per team president Pat Riley.
James played for the Heat from 2010-2014, winning a pair of NBA championships playing alongside Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, something Riley still remembers fondly. If James were to come knocking in search of a return to South Beach, Riley would leave our a key for him.
“I would leave the key under the doormat if he would call me and let me know that he’s coming,” Riley said Friday in an interview on Dan Le Batard’s radio show. “I would do that, but I doubt very much that key. … That key is rusted now.
“LeBron, look, he’s one of the greatest of all time, and for four years down here, if we want to go back and remember what those four years were like, it was four years in the Finals, four years of excitement, two world championships. …It was the best time for the Heat. So I wish him nothing but the best, and if he ever wanted to come back, I’ll put a new shiny key under the mat.”
LeBron James Says Offseason Will Work Him ‘Wonders’
The immediate future for James involves a longer offseason than he’s used to, considering he’s usually playing deep into the postseason. But the 36-year-old is embracing the rare opportunity, especially after a tough ankle injury that limited him against the Suns and saw him miss 26 regular-season games.
“It’s going to work wonders for me, obviously,” James said, per Silver Screen & Roll. “During the season I don’t even talk about rest, I don’t even like to put my mind and frame into that, it makes me weak. But in the offseason, I get an opportunity to rest. We’ve got like three months to recalibrate, get my ankle back to 100% where it was before that Atlanta game, and that’s the most important thing for me.
“Everything else feels extremely well. My ankle was the only thing that was kind of bothering me… in the later stage of the season, and never fully got back to where it was before the injury,” James continued. “But I’m happy I was able to go out there and at least try to help our team win.”
LeBron James: Lakers Were Never at ‘Full-Strength’
While he’s looking forward to the time away from the court, the sting of the season and all the hurdles the Lakers had with injuries of COVID-19 restrictions.
“The one thing that bothers me more than anything is we never really got an opportunity to see our full team at full strength,” James said. “Either because of injury or COVID or something going on with our ballclub this year, we could never fully get into a rhythm. And never really kind of see the full potential of what we could be capable of.”
James has estimated that he was around 85% for the series against the Suns, per Yahoo Sports. Despite that, James averaged 23.3 points, 8.0 assists and 7.2 rebounds in the series, which is nothing to scoff at.