MIAMI -- LeBron James has decided to exercise the early termination option of his contract and become a free agent, the Miami Herald has confirmed.
James now has the option of restructuring his contract with the Heat, or signing with another team. Free agency begins on July 1. ESPN first reported the story.
With James choosing to opt out of his contract, Heat president Pat Riley and general manager Andy Elisburg can now begin in earnest the process of building the Heat's roster for next season. James was set to earn $20.5 million next season, and he is the second high-profile player to opt out a contract in recent days. Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks opted out Monday.
"We're prepared," Riley said earlier this week. "We've got the main book all written up, and it's dependent on whatever the scenario we're presented with on July 1, and we've got a lot of room for flexibility. There is a tremendous amount of flexibility depending on what happens.
"Do I feel any pressure? No. I will do the best job I can do. We will all do the best job we can do."
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