LeBron James to opt out of contract with Miami Heat

LeBron James to opt out of contract with Miami Heat

LeBron James to opt out of contract with Miami Heat

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by Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY

Posted on June 24, 2014 at 8:50 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 24 at 10:10 AM

LeBron James' agent, Rich Paul, has informed the Miami Heat of his client's decision to exercise the early termination option on his contract and become a free agent on July 1.

Paul confirmed the decision via text message to USA TODAY Sports.

While James may ultimately return to Miami on a new deal, the pressure is now squarely on Heat president Pat Riley to win the recruiting war for James' services again like he did in the summer of 2010.

James was set to earn $20.5 million next season on the contract that could have gone through 2016 (player option worth $22.1 million).

Opting out doesn't mean James will necessarily leave the Heat, but it allows him to explore opportunities.

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