LeBron James is ready for the Eastern Conference Finals to start.
Especially if it pits his Cleveland Cavaliers against the Miami Heat.
From Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com:
“Naturally, of course,” James said after Cavs shootaround Wednesday morning, when asked about the chance to play the Heat. “That’s since I’ve came back. It’d be great to play against those guys in the postseason.
“Throughout my whole career, I’ve always wanted to go against [Dwyane] Wade in a playoff series. We’ve always talked about it even before we became teammates in ’10.
“It’s not been heavy on my mind, but it’s crossed my mind throughout my whole career.” James, drafted No. 1, and Wade, drafted No. 5, entered the league as rookies together in 2003 and teamed up in Miami from 2010 to 2014, making four straight trips to the Finals and winning two championships in that span.
So, yeah. The Atlanta Hawks are going to be pissed. The Toronto Raptors, too.
LeBron clearly doesn’t mean any harm with his comments. He isn’t trying to imply that the Hawks cannot put up a valiant fight and upset his Cavaliers (they can’t). And he’s not saying that Toronto won’t beat Miami (it won’t). He’s just expressing an innocent desire to square off against one of his best buddies, Dwyane Wade, in the Eastern Conference’s championship round.
And who could blame him? He’s already won championships with Wade; why not take the obvious next step in their relationship and use his team as one of your steppingstones en route to another NBA Finals bid.
More seriously, though, this shouldn’t actually be taken to mean LeBron is being presumptive, or that he’s lost his focus. He’s too smart for that by now. We simply exist during an era in which candor is appreciated and expected and, thus, rampant. So you can’t knock LeBron for giving us exactly what we appreciate and anticipate—especially because most of us are likely hoping for the same thing.