For LeBron James, hindsight 20/20
NEWARK, N.J. -- LeBron James said he has no regrets about ending up in Miami, but did say he would handle his decision differently if given another chance.
James has been heavily criticized for announcing his free agency choice during an hour-long ESPN special.
If I had to go back on it, I probably would do it a little bit different. But I'm happy with the decision I made. There's always going to be a misunderstanding. I don't know what I would [have done], but I definitely would have changed it.” -- LeBron James on announcing free-agent decision
The Ohio native did not specifically say what aspects of "The Decision" he would have changed.
"If I had to go back on it, I probably would do it a little bit different," James said. "But I'm happy with the decision I made. There's always going to be a misunderstanding. I don't know what I would [have done], but I definitely would have changed it."
James joked Sunday that it's not too soon for teams to start recruiting him for the 2015-16 season after his current contract expires.
Barring injuries, James would still be in his prime when his six-year contract ends, although there are options that would allow him to enter free agency a year or two earlier.
"I'll be 30, I'll be all right still, too," James said before the Heat played the Nets at the Prudential Center. "I'm here. I'm a Heat, man. So we'll see what happens."
The Nets were one of six teams that met with James when the free-agency recruiting period opened in July. He also received visits in Cleveland from the Heat, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago Bulls and the Cavaliers. The Nets, partially owned by hip-hop mogul and James' good friend, Jay-Z, had the first meeting with James.
But James said Sunday he never established a ranking or order of preference beyond the Heat.
"Not really," James said. "It was some meetings that were better than others. But at the end of the day, this was the team I felt like I had the best opportunity to win for a long period of time. I didn't have a list, one through six or one through five, whatever the case was."
James said his summer sit-down with Nets officials, including owner Mikhail Prokhorov and coach Avery Johnson, was a positive experience.
"I'm here in Miami, but it was a great meeting," James said. "I left with definitely respect for this organization, respect for Avery Johnson, respect for the owner and for everyone that has anything to do with the Nets. Nothing bad from that meeting and nothing bad I have to say about this organization. It was great."
The two-time MVP also said the Nets' record last season didn't automatically eliminate them.
"No, you can't go off that. They're 2-0 now, so I don't think they won their first game until mid-December last year. So you can't go from previous years," James said. "If that's the case, this Miami Heat team won like 15 games [in 2007-08]. Before I got to the Cavs, they only won 17, even though I didn't have anything to do with that because of the lottery. But you don't take a team's past year and based on what the following year could be."
The Nets' case could have been strengthened if they were already in Brooklyn, but their planned move has stalled and they are now scheduled to play two years in Newark before the Barclays Center opens.
James said he didn't know if that hurt New Jersey.
"I think this place is great," he said. "Brooklyn is a great city also. But I've never been in Newark, I've never been in Brooklyn, so I don't know if it would have helped the case or not."
James was booed frequently in the first half, though there were loud cheers after a pair of powerful dunks.
Michael Wallace is an NBA writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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