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Heat focused on finals, not what free agency brings

NBA Finals Edge

AP Basketball Writer

MIAMI (AP) -- For the Miami Heat, it's all about June.

July can wait.

Four years ago, when LeBron James uttered that now-infamous phrase - "not two, not three, not four, not five ..." - about how many championships he hoped to win with the Heat, it was almost immediately turned into a punch line. It rings prophetic in some ways now, with the Heat back in the NBA Finals for a fourth consecutive season.

How the Heat fare in their NBA Finals rematch with the San Antonio Spurs might dictate what happens in July, when James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade can become free agents if they choose. A looming offseason of decisions has been a taboo subject for the Heat "Big 3" this season, and Wade insisted Monday that Miami's stars have not said a word to each other about what may or may not happen.

"I'm not lying," Wade said.

Still, as long as Miami keeps winning, it seems logical the "Big 3" will stay together.

"I want to come back. That's OK to say, I think," Bosh said Monday after the Heat finished their first workout in preparation for the NBA Finals, which begin Thursday in San Antonio. "I can't speak for anything else and I don't want to take away from the subject at hand, but I like it here. It's Miami. Enough said. People are dying to get here."

Regardless of the outcome of this Heat-Spurs series, there will be changes to the Heat, which is an annual rite for just about every team. James, Wade and Bosh can all opt out of their current deals. Shane Battier is retiring, Ray Allen may think about doing the same, while Mario Chalmers, James Jones and Rashard Lewis are notable free-agents-in-waiting.

It's not just the "Big 3" who aren't thinking too far ahead, yet.

Allen said no one in the room is looking past anything but this series - especially with the Spurs' Tim Duncan saying San Antonio will get it done this year after falling short against the Heat last season. But as James noted, both teams have their own motivation.

"That's the great thing about having veterans," Allen said. "Nobody worries about what's not here yet."

Winning a third straight title could make some of those stay-or-go decisions pretty simple. And Wade believes Miami's legacy has been secured.

"Whenever it's all said and done, the legacy of this team, it's going to be a great team," Wade said. "It's going to go down in history as an unbelievable team not only in South Florida but in NBA history."

Given that, it's easy to see why so much attention gets paid to how long this team can stay together.

Bosh, Wade and James all made it very clear in September that they were not going to let the summer of 2014 turn into the circus that the summer of 2010 was, when all three became free agents and decided to bring their talents together.

Entering the season, James said that his teammates "understand where I stand" regarding the future. And on Monday, James said he wasn't going to let himself be distracted by thinking about what impact the result of these NBA Finals will have on the legacy the Heat have created over the last four seasons.

"No, because I live in the moment," James said. "It's almost the same with my individual accomplishments. I never really understand them. The only time I'll be able to appreciate it is when I'm done playing the game. I'm in the moment. I don't even think about it."

Bosh was the last player off the practice floor Monday. And when the conversation turned to what happens after these finals, he was reluctant, he said, to think about anything beyond Game 1 on Thursday night.

"It's difficult enough concentrating on trying to get back to this point, let alone trying to win it," Bosh said. "We've done that before. All of us made a lot of mistakes in 2010, which is going to happen because that was our first time being in it. But now, not only are we vets in the league, with playoff experience, we know what to expect."

What decisions to expect this summer, that's another story.

"We still don't know," Battier said. "It's hard to explain with our group. We have a bunch of guys that sort of go with the flow. I think when the Big 3 signed here there was talk of legacy and there was talk of history. That's all academic at that point. Once you put the uniform on it's about competing your tail off and putting yourself in position to win, which we have."

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Larry June 03 2014 at 2:57 PM

"Heat players discuss 'Big 3' staying in tact"

What do you have to have to qualify for writing AOL sports, failure in English 101?

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1 reply
Gary Markette Larry June 04 2014 at 6:09 AM

I don't think they'd qualify for a college-level course. Anyone who'd confuse "in tact" for "intact" would scarcely pass a high-school English class. (Perhaps this was just a typo. If so, the editor or proofreader is at fault.)

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mad_dawg_1 June 03 2014 at 1:26 PM

Dont you mean the BIG THREE OVER PAID.

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4 replies
titlemstr June 03 2014 at 2:48 PM

Those writing the headlines need to learn the English language. Intact is a single word meaning keeping whole or in one piece. In tact - possibly means in good taste or good manners, but I have no idea.

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william June 03 2014 at 4:49 PM

Who cares? Besides what does this have to do with football anyway?

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patriot1too June 03 2014 at 11:59 PM

The nba has shouwn itself to be too involved with that awful political correctness and too racist. A bunch of victim wannabe thugs. We dont watch them anymore.

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1 reply
ferrariqx patriot1too June 04 2014 at 2:06 AM

Please name the "thugs" of the two teams in the finals. How has the league demonstrated a propensity to racism?

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1 reply
tony941 ferrariqx June 04 2014 at 5:58 AM

The league has a glaring propensity for racism. If you're going to ban one's speech for negatively speaking about one race, it should be for all races. Look at the actions and listen to the racist comments, from their players past and present without repercussion. Let's take fat head, bucket mouth, Sir Charles for starters.

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napa422 June 03 2014 at 6:07 PM

baggy pants jumping jacks!!

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Dick June 03 2014 at 2:54 PM

Damn....I don't see any white boys on the teams!!!

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3 replies
The Cat June 04 2014 at 2:35 AM

THE Heat are a bunch of cocky playes and they thinkj they are unbeatable but the spurs are an veteran team that lost in seven last year and this is going to be the motivation they need ot unseat the Heat! Go San Antonio beat the Heat and force Lebum to move to another team

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jbaer10314 June 03 2014 at 8:06 PM

If the Spurs win, LeBron will go back to Cleveland. Period.

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Kenneth Olshein June 04 2014 at 12:13 AM

its refreshing to not hear the Latrell Sprewell attitude

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