Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert isn't worried about his franchise player bolting for the Big Apple in 2010. Instead, Gilbert told CNBC on Monday that this is more an instance of perception than reality.
"This is not LeBron James saying this stuff, this is just a media phenomenon here that will pass in time," Gilbert said while appearing on "CNBC Reports."
"We're focused on this year and you know what, so is he, and he's focused on this year and next year and hopefully a long career in Cleveland, Ohio. We believe that and we think we have a great situation here and we're off to a great start."
James has three seasons left on a four-year contract extension he signed in 2006; the contract took effect in 2007 and includes a player option for the fourth season. If James declines the player option, he will become a free agent in 2010.
The Knicks are one example of teams attempting to clear out salary-cap space for a star-studded free-agent class in 2010. James said this week he wouldn't hesitate to leave Cleveland if another franchise offers him a better chance to win multiple NBA titles.
Charles Barkley, in an interview last week on "Dan Patrick Radio," said James has no business talking about a future with another team while he's a Cavalier.
"If I was LeBron James, I would shut the hell up," Barkley said in the Wednesday interview. "I'm a big LeBron fan. He's a stud. You gotta give him his props. I'm getting so annoyed he's talking about what he's going to do in two years. I think it's disrespectful to the game. I think it's disrespectful to the Cavaliers."
James, however, felt differently.
"He's stupid. That's all I've got to say about that," James said Friday night before the Cavaliers' game against Golden State.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.