LeBron is entering free agency, according to numerous reports. He's exercising his player's option to escape the remaining year on his Miami contract. But before you totally freak out and set your number 6 jersey on fire, take a deep breath.
It's entirely possible -- though far from certain, of course -- he's just opting out so he can renegotiate his contract with the Heat.
Update: Pat Riley has responded.
"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 James' agent Rich Paul has told Heat LeBron will exercise early termination option
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 24, 2014
LeBron James has decided to exercise the early termination option of his contract and become a free agent.
— Joseph Goodman (@JoeGoodmanJr) June 24, 2014
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Sure, that means he could fly the coop and take his talents elsewhere. It also means he might be willing to take a pay cut so the team has more money to hire some quality supporting players. Remember those Carmelo Anthony rumors?
James has been quiet all season about his future. He's noted only that he and his family are comfortable in Miami. They have a Coconut Grove mansion, he has a clothing boutique in Aventura Mall, and his wife owns a juice bar nearby.
Sure, a juice bar won't keep him in town, but he has set up a pretty good life here. Considering there's not exactly another perfect situation sitting around the league, we would be surprised if packed up and began anew after one NBA Finals loss.