LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all have early termination options which they can exercise this summer in order to become unrestricted free agents, instead of playing out the final two years on those deals.
The first domino has fallen, as James has reportedly made the first of two very important decisions.
According to my man @Chris_Broussard, LeBron James’ agent Rich Paul has informed Heat that LeBron will exercise early termination option
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 24, 2014
LeBron James will opt-out of deal, source confirms. He’s determined to impose pressure on Miami to improve roster and spend, sources say.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 24, 2014
It’s important to state the obvious, which is that LeBron opting out has absolutely zero to do with whether or not he returns to the Heat. The move was expected, just as it was with Carmelo Anthony, because the league’s biggest stars in their prime are always going to opt out of a deal to sign a much longer one for more guaranteed money the moment the opportunity presents itself.
[Dan Patrick Show: Is LeBron taking shot at Pat Riley by opting out?]
But it’s extremely interesting nonetheless, because it means that there’s at least a possibility that James will choose to play somewhere else.
The more likely scenario is that James re-ups in Miami for another five-year max contract, with another early termination option after three years.
Remember, the Heat didn’t exactly struggle to make the playoffs — they just finished a campaign that ended with a trip to the Finals for a fourth straight year. While it’s clear the roster needs upgrades to win a title, and LeBron’s move certainly puts at least some pressure on ownership to make that happen, Miami is still very close. And organizational stability — especially with Pat Riley in the front office and Erik Spoelstra on the sidelines — is going to be as important a factor as any in LeBron’s next decision.
Wade and Bosh have yet to inform the team of whether or not they too will opt out, but it’s more than likely that they will. Wade may be convinced to sign for more money in total over more years in order to give the team some immediate financial flexibility, and the same may be true of Bosh and even of James.
The three will look at the landscape together, however, before anyone decides to leave. And while James opting out first is definitely intriguing, the move was one that was expected.