(Updated 4:46 PM ET) LeBron James will opt out of his current contract with the Miami Heat, and is set to become a free agent on July 1.
Heat President Pat Riley released a statement Tuesday regarding LeBron’s decision.
“I was informed this morning of his intentions. We fully expected LeBron to opt-out and exercise his free agent 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, Dwyane Wade, 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.”
LeBron’s agent Rich Paul informed the Heat that his client will exercise his early termination option Tuesday morning, according to multiple reports.
The move opens the door for LeBron to re-sign with the Heat for a long term deal or sign elsewhere. He can sign with the Heat for up to five years, $114 million, or up to four years with another team.
Other than Miami, rumored suitors include Houston, Chicago, Cleveland and the Los Angeles teams.
This doesn’t mean that LeBron is gone, of course. It could lead the way for Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to opt out and sign long-term deals as well. According to Woj, the trio will meet to discuss their plans, confirming what LeBron and Bosh said in their exit interviews earlier this month.
Wade and Bosh have until June 30 to decide if they will opt out and test free agency as well.