LeBron James to opt out of contract with Miami Heat

LeBron James to opt out of contract with Miami Heat

Credit: Getty Images

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 20: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat reacts late in the fourth quarter while taking on the San Antonio Spurs during Game Seven of the 2013 NBA Finals at AmericanAirlines Arena on June 20, 2013 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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by Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt

USA TODAY Sports

Posted on June 24, 2014 at 10:02 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 24 at 10:02 AM

(USA Today) -- 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).

ESPN first reported the news.

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