"We could be seeing history repeat itself," Pierce told the Boston Herald. "That's the funny part about it, because if Boston beats them, we all know he's gone. He may be gone anyway."
At this point, nothing would be shocking, because we've already been shocked twice, first leaving the Cavaliers for the Heat in 2010, and then, after four successive trips to the NBA Finals, returning to Cleveland.
At this point, all the NBA would want is an expedited decision, because, as is the case with each of LeBron's offseason decisions, it brings the league to a halt.
There actually could be an accelerated resolution this season should James follow last year's path charted by Chris Paul, of completely bypassing free agency and James instead opting into the $35 million on his contract for next season — with the caveat that instead of losing him for nothing, the Cavaliers could work a trade similar to what the Los Angeles Clippers did in last summer's Paul deal to the Houston Rockets.
The irony in such a situation would be that the approach might be James' easiest path to play alongside Paul and James Harden with the Rockets.
The other, logical, options for James have been well chronicled:
— Remaining in Cleveland, which still could present a path less challenging to the NBA Finals than any destination in the West.
— Giving Brett Brown the superstar that the Philadelphia 76ers coach alluded to needing following his team's second-round demise against the Celtics.
— Moving on to the Los Angeles Lakers if the Lakers can also add another prime piece, because, at worst, well ... it's the Lakers.
— Finding a way, in some form, to Houston, especially if the Rockets come up short in these playoffs.
All come with question marks: Has playing with the Cavaliers turned into drudgery? Would a move to the 76ers stifle the growth of Ben Simmons as oversized playmaker? Will LeBron, Paul George and Lonzo Ball be enough to contend in the West? And how would three ball-dominant personalities coexist in Mike D'Antoni's system?
Which brings us to the Heat, and the lack of any logic even to the suggestion.
First, the Heat have no cap space. So the only way to create LeBron South Beach 2.0 would be a trade in June or a sign-and-trade in July. Somehow it is difficult to even conjure the possibility of, "Mr. Gilbert, it's Mr. Riley on Line 2."
Getting beyond that (not that logic would allow for it even to get to that), the Heat would have to seemingly bundle every desirable asset in the void of draft picks. That would leave LeBron (and, again, there is an absurdity even to this level of formulation) arriving in the absence of, say, Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow and Bam Adebayo, plus either Hassan Whiteside or Goran Dragic. In other words, less than he now has alongside Kevin Love and George Hill.
Unless LeBron decides he wants to manage his Unknwn streetwear outlet in Wynwood on site, the next Heat reunion likely will be when his, Dwyane Wade's and Chris Bosh's jerseys go to the AmericanAirlines Arena rafters.
As Kevin Durant and Gordon Hayward decided the past two summers, there simply are more coherent options elsewhere.