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The Cleveland Cavaliers got a measure of revenge last night in defeating the Orlando Magic, the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year in the Eastern Conference finals, 102-93 last night in Orlando.  LeBron James, the reigning MVP and the undisputed crown jewel in next summer’s bumper crop of free agents, scored 36 points to lead the Cavs to the big win.  But all the talk after the game before and after the game circled around his looming free agency and comments made by Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade about the two possible pairing up next year when both hit the open market.

James said that he has had enough of all the free agent talk and told reporters that he will not address any questions about next season until after this season is over.

“This free agent talk is getting old. It’s getting old and I think I’m going to stop. Tonight will be the last time I answer any more free agent questions until the offseason,” James said.

“I think I owe it to myself, and I owe it to my teammates. It’s just getting old. I’m focusing on this season, and this is going to be a really good season for us. I don’t want anymore distractions for my teammates, for my organization, for my family. This will be the last time I answer a free agent question for the rest of the year.”

This may turn out to be the last time he answers a free agency question, but it most certainly will not be the last time he is asked about it.  James is a once-in-a-generation talent, and several teams, including the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets, have all but written off this year in the hopes of clearing enough salary cap room to sign James after the season.  It has been said that the Knicks could be appealing because playing in New York would increase James’ profile and make him even more of marketing sensation.  The Nets have also been linked to James because of team’s impending move to Brooklyn would give him the same marketing opportunites and and rap mogul and noted friend of LeBron Jay-Z is a minority owner of the franchise.

But James has also said that his primary motivation in choosing his next team will be winning, and the Nets and Knicks have combined are a combined 1-16 thus far this season (the Knicks have the only victory between the two, beating the New Orleans Hornets back on Nov. 2.)  Plus, James is already a marketing superstar with several endorsements, and it is likely that he would be able to get the same number of endorsement dollars no matter where heends up playing.  Thus, every time he goes on the road, some intrepid reporter will ask him about next year.

We applaud James for saying that he wants to end all the questions about next year and focus on this season, a year in whch the Cavaliers have been picked by many to win the Eastern Conference and return to the NBA Finals.  But just saying that you don’t want to talk about it will not end the free agency discussion, and it will be a distraction to both you and your teammates for the remainder of the season.

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