LeBron on future: ‘Only time will tell’

James scored 43 points, offering a memorable final performance in Cleveland before he can opt out of his contract with the Heat at season's end.

Tony Dejak/ASSOCIATED PRESS

CLEVELAND — LeBron James was asked if he wants to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers and he didn’t say no.

Wisely, James didn’t really say much of anything. Wisely, because James currently plays for the Miami Heat.

"Right now, it’s too hard for me to try to think about," James said prior to the Heat’s 100-96 win in Cleveland on Tuesday.

James scored 43 points, offering a memorable final performance in Cleveland before he can opt out of his contract with the Heat at season’s end. That included some clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch and 14-of-19 from the floor overall.

He opened the game by scoring 25 points in the first quarter, missing just one of his first 11 shots and burying his first five 3-pointers.

It enabled the Heat (46-19) to hold off a determined Cavs team that was missing its top two scorers — Kyrie Irving and Luol Deng, respectively.

Deng sprained an ankle Sunday and was held out at the last minute Tuesday. Things with Irving were worse, as he strained his left biceps Sunday and will miss a minimum of two weeks.

"Hopefully, he has a speedy recovery," James said of Irving. "He’s a great piece to this franchise."

James was once a great piece to this franchise himself, leading the Cavs to their lone Finals appearance in 2007. He left in free agency in 2010, moving on to Miami and winning the last two NBA championships.

He said going for a third is the only thing on his mind at the moment.

"We have 19 games remaining before we have two months of no sleep, hopefully" he said, referring to a potential playoff run. "To take my mind away from that is almost impossible."

At the same time, James didn’t rule out any or all possibilities pertaining to his future, and where he might play his home games next season.

"Only time will tell," he said.