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LeBron James informs Miami Heat that he will opt out of his contract

LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat shoots the ball against the San Antonio Spurs in Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas.
Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images

A day after New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony opted out of his contract to become a free agent, LeBron James has decided to test the free agent market. USA TODAY Sports reports Tuesday that James’ agent, Rich Paul, has informed the Miami Heat of his client’s decision to opt out of his contract and become a free agent on July 1.

The decision doesn’t mean LeBron James will leave the Heat, but it does put the pressure on Heat president Pat Riley to win a recruiting war for the services of King James once again. James was set to earn $20.5 million next season on the contract. If he decides to remain in Miami, he may have to be willing to take a pay cut, especially if it involves keeping the big three in tact and possibly bringing in another big name.

Other teams believed to be in pursuit of LeBron are the Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago Bulls and the Dallas Mavericks. The New York Knicks could be a possibility if they can persuade Melo to come back and perhaps lure another big name player. A return to the Heat seems to be the more likely route for James.

LeBron initially had till June 30 to make his decision. By deciding to opt out of his contract earlier than expected, he gives the Heat and other teams time to clear up some cap space and present the best possible situation for him. The four-time NBA MVP will be out to avenge a NBA Finals loss to the San Antonio Spurs. It will be an interesting summer in the NBA with players like Melo, LeBron and Kevin Love available. Wherever these players end up may change the entire landscape of the NBA.

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