Miami Heat forward LeBron James decided to exercise the player option on the last deal of his contract with the Miami Heat on June 24 to become a free agent.
Miami Heat forward LeBron James decided to opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat on June 24.
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The Miami Herald's Joseph Goodman wrote more about the development:
"LeBron James exercised the early termination option of his contract on Tuesday and is set to become a free agent on July 1. Essentially, James has three options: sign for more money with the Heat, sign for less money with the Heat, or sign with another team.
"He's expected to choose the scenario (that) would give him a better chance to win more championships.
"Put another way, what James decides could ultimately be determined by the decisions of his teammates.
"The big questions now: What will Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh do? Like James, Wade and Bosh have player option clauses in their contracts.
"James, Wade and Bosh are expected to finalize their plans for the future soon. If Wade and Bosh both opt out of their contracts, then that would be a positive sign that the Heat is gearing up to restock its roster this offseason with enough talent to make another run at the NBA Finals.
"If either Wade or Bosh chooses to play under his current contract, refitting the Heat's roster would be more difficult. The deadline for Wade and Bosh to exercise their player options is June 30, but could come as early as Tuesday evening or Wednesday."
Miami Heat president Pat Riley issued a statement on the team's official website:
"I was informed this morning of his intentions. We fully expected LeBron to opt out and exercise his free agnt rights, so this does not come as a surprise. As I said at the press conference last week, players have a right to free agency, and when they have these opportunities, the right to explore their options.
"The last four seasons have been historic and LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Erik Spoelstra have led the Miami HEAT to one of the most unprecedented runs in the history of the NBA. We look forward to sitting down with LeBron and his representatives and talking about our future together.
"At the moment, we are preparing for the opportunities in the draft and free agency as we continue with our goal of winning NBA championships."
ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard says James would be missing out on an opportunity of playing in a fifth consecutive NBA Finals if he decides to leave Miami. As for Bosh and Wade, they have yet to express any intention of joining James in free agency:
"If James departs, he would be leaving a historic opportunity on the table. Only one team in NBA history has appeared in at least five consecutive NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics, who reached 10 straight fro 1957 to 1966.
"With James and Carmelo Anthony officially opting out of their contracts, multiple teams -- including the Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks and (Los Angeles) Lakers -- have begun the process of exploring roster moves that would create sufficient salary-cap space to sign 2014's marquee free agents in tandem, sources close to the situation told ESPN.com.
"Meanwhile, the other two Miami stars with early termination options -- Wade and Bosh -- have not yet told the Heat or publicly revealed whether they will join James as free agents this summer."
On the other hand, Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports on June 24 that the Big Three will meet to talk about their future with the Heat:
"In the wake of LeBron James' decision to opt out of his contract, the NBA's best player is still expected to sit dwon with Miami Heat teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to discuss a future together with the team, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
"The meeting is expected to take place days before the official beginning of free agency, and there's an expectation that the Heat's Big '3' will have a strong idea about whether they'll continue together in Miami before James, 29, can hit the market on July 1.
"The Heat's core players have until June 30 to inform the team of their plans and now the pressure goes to Bosh and Wade to opt out of their deals to presumably re-sign new contracts at lesser values to help James and the Heat create the salary-cap space to upgrade the roster."
Wojnarowski adds an option for James is a sign-and-trade with the Los Angeles Clippers, where he could play alongside close friend Chris Paul. The Houston Rockets are also reportedly going to free up cap space to to try to land James so he could form a formidable trio with Dwight Howard and James Harden.
A possible return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team that drafted James in 2003 and his hometown team, cannot be ruled out, per the Yahoo! Sports report.
However, Miami is still the "primary consideration" for James, who wants to see Riley's plans of retaining the team's title contender status, according to Wojnarowski.
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