LeBron James: ‘I got better ... in every aspect’

MIAMI — LeBron James took time off this summer, got married a couple weeks ago and spent time globetrotting about while tending to his many business interests.

The NBA’s reigning MVP also says he had time to work on his game, saying Monday, “I got better.”

With that, James ushered in a new season for the two-time defending champion Miami Heat, who gathered for their annual media day. Practice begins Tuesday morning in the Bahamas.

James did not divulge what he specifically worked on, though Heat coach Erik Spoelstra says he spent part of his summer focusing on his post-up game, with continued emphasis on midrange shooting as well.

Spoelstra says, “LeBron is self-motivated. He’s a special dude.”

NEW YORK — The New York Knicks picked up the option on coach Mike Woodson’s contract for the 2014-15 season.

Woodson led the Knicks to a 54-28 record last season and their first Atlantic Division title since 1994. He is 72-34 since taking over for Mike D’Antoni late in the 2011-12 season, a .679 winning percentage that is second-best in team history.

New general manager Steve Mills said in a statement Monday that it was “clear that picking up his option is an easy decision.”


TIMETABLE FOR RONDO RETURN UNKNOWN : Point guard Rajon Rondo won’t be back in time for the start of the regular season.

Rondo said he doesn’t know how long it will take for him to recover from tearing a ligament in his right knee in January. He has been working on his shooting and his ball-handling, but he doesn’t take part in practice where there is any contact.

Rondo is the only remaining member from the team that won the 2008 NBA championship. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were traded to the Brooklyn Nets on draft night, and coach Doc Rivers defected to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Rondo said he is excited to work with new coach Brad Stevens.


BYNUM NOT YET READY TO PRACTICE : Cavaliers center Andrew Bynum has resumed basketball activities, but will not be medically cleared to practice when Cleveland opens camp Tuesday.

Bynum, who underwent bilateral arthroscopic surgery on both knees in March, hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since May 21, 2012. The 7-footer signed a two-year contract with Cleveland on July 19 after missing all of last season while with Philadelphia.

No timetable has been set for his return to full-contact practices.


SQUAD HASN’T FORGOTTEN FINALS FAILURE: The San Antonio Spurs had a hectic offseason, but not even the busiest day this summer could make them forget what might have been just three months ago.

San Antonio was five seconds away from winning their fifth NBA title in Game 6 of the Finals only to watch the Miami Heat rally for an improbable 103-100 overtime victory. Almost as heartbreaking was a 95-88 loss in Game 7 that gave the Heat their second consecutive title and handed the Spurs their first series loss in the Finals.

Coach Gregg Popovich said he’s thought about that every day.