LeBron James Opts Out Of Miami Heat Contract, Pursues Free Agency
LeBron James, aruguably the best player in the NBA, has decided to terminate his contract with the Miami Heat early in order to become an unrestricted free agent.
LeBron James Opts For Free Agency
James, by exercising his early termination option, will became an unrestricted free agent on July 1, according to Bleacher Report. His agent, Rich Paul told the Heat of his client’s decision Jun. 24. Heat president Pat Riley received the news graciously, praising James’ for his impactful four years with the franchise and remaining optimistic that he could return to the team for the 2014-2015 season.
“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,” Riley said in a statement. “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.”
Riley continued, “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.”
James Could Return To Miami Heat
Riley has good reason to be hopeful that James will ultimately decide to come back to Miami. By opting out of the contract, James is likely merely trying to keep his options open and put himself in a better position to negotiate with ownership about building the team’s roster, according to Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix.
As a free agent, LeBron can put pressure on Heat ownership to commit to spending more to build roster. Opting in, he couldn't do it as well.
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) June 24, 2014
Furthermore, Miami is in a position to give him a better contract – five-year deal worth about $127.7 million versus a maximum of four-year deal worth 94.8 million.
James’ main concern, however, according to him, is winning. If he thinks that the Heat – which he’s led to four NBA Championships and two wins in his four years there – is still the best place to do that, he’ll more than likely return. If he thinks his next championship win can be had elsewhere, he might just move on from Riley’s team.