LeBron James' Agent Says Focus Should Be on Playing for Winning Team

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 16, 2017

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 15:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on during the game against the Charlotte Hornets on November 15, 2017 at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice:  Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Rich Paul, the agent for Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James, said Wednesday the opportunity to win is going to remain the forward's main focus in the future.

Dan Feldman of NBC Sports passed along comments Paul made about James, who can decline a player option in his contract to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2017-18 NBA season, during an appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd.

"For anywhere—not Los Angeles, not Miami, not Detroit, Milwaukee—I think for LeBron, and for most athletes, the most important thing is about winning," he said. "At his level, it should be. It should be about winning at his point in his career."

Paul wouldn't provide any further information about whether the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player is leaning toward testing the open market, though. He noted his attention is helping the Cavs advance as far as possible during the current campaign.

"I think Cleveland won 60 games and went to the Finals three years in a row," he told Cowherd. "So, I think his focus should be there. I think he owe that to his teammates and he owe it to the organization to keep his focus on the Cleveland Cavaliers for right now. And my job is to, at such time, give him the advice that he wants and prepare him to be able to make whatever decision he wants to make at such time. Right now, that's not the time."

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Although there's been rampant speculation about James' future since he helped bring Cleveland its first NBA title in 2016, neither the 13-time All-Star selection nor anybody from his camp has provided any substance to the rumors about potentially joining the Los Angeles Lakers or another team.

One general manager told Sean Deveney of Sporting News in July that L.A. was taking all the necessary steps to make a big splash next offseason.

"They will be looking to get both LeBron and Paul George," the GM said. "Anything they have been doing has been all about protecting their cap space next summer."

Yet Maverick Carter, James' longtime friend and business partner, provided a similar message to Paul on the Rich Eisen Show in early November, per Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated.

"Could he sell a few more sneakers if he was in a gigantic market like Boston or Chicago or New York or L.A.? Maybe," Carter said. "But not as much as if he wins. What matters the most is if he wins."

It's a message that doesn't shed much light on James' plans because any team joined by the league's gold standard for the past decade will win a lot of games and become an instant title contender. He's made the NBA Finals seven consecutive years.

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