LeBron James will exercise the early termination option in his contract with the Miami Heat, becoming an unrestricted free agent, his agent told ESPN’s Chris Broussard.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s leaving Miami.
By opting out, he can sign a new five-year maximum contract with the Heat. If he left Miami, he could only get a four-year deal with a slightly lower annual salary. The difference between staying and leaving is $US30 million.
Adrian Wojnarowski reports that LeBron is opting out in order to put pressure on the team to spend. Owner Mickey Arison has been reluctant to pay the luxury tax in the last few years, meaning the Heat haven’t been able to put capable role players around LeBron.
But if he were to leave Miami, this would be the first step. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade also have early termination options, and could opt out.
Free agency begins July 1.
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