Rich Paul, the agent for Miami Heat forward LeBron James, has notified the team that his client will exercise an early termination clause in his contract and become an unrestricted free agent as of July 1, according to ESPN. James had two years and $42.7 million remaining on his current deal, and could still return to the Heat on a longer contract.
He made the decision independent of teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, who will have several more days to decide their next step, as both have similar opt-out clauses in their deals.
James, a four-time NBA MVP, averaged 27.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 6.4 assists during the 2013-14 season, which saw him carry the load for an aging roster in the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs. He has led the Heat to the Finals four times, winning two championships.
There has been speculation that James could opt out and take less money so the Heat could bring in more talent, but he could also look for a new home with younger complementary stars.