LeBron James’ agent, Richie Paul, has informed the Miami Heat that James will exercise his early termination option and become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Opting out does not mean James has decided to leave the Heat, a person familiar with the situation told AP, who spoke on condition of anonymity because neither the four-time NBA MVP nor the team had made any public announcement.
James has until Monday to decide whether to opt out of the final two years of his contract with the Heat. He was scheduled to make US$20 million next season. After Miami’s season-ending loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals, James told reporters he would take a vacation with his family before considering his contract options.
James did indicate that he welcomed the opportunity to become a free agent and have the same level of flexibility he was afforded in 2010, when he signed with Miami after spending his first seven years in Cleveland.
James had two years and about US$42.7 million remaining on his deal with the Heat. In his four seasons in Miami, the Heat have gone to the NBA Finals four times, winning two championships.