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LeBron James Tells Heat He's Opting Out of Contract

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Let the games begin.

LeBron James will opt out of the final two years of his contract with the Miami Heat and become a free agent, according to multiple reports.

James was to make $42.7 million over the next two seasons. A source tells the AP James opting out does not necessarily mean he will leave Miami, though it's hard to view this as a good sign for Heat fans.

So where will LeBron go? There's an incentive, money-wise, to stay in Miami, where he can earn a maximum of $127.7 million over the next five years. If he signs with another team, James can earn $94.8 million over the next four seasons (via @ESPNStatsInfo).

The Houston Rockets are scheming to get James or Carmelo Anthony, though the team has a lot of work to do to fit in another big salary. The Lakers, Bulls, and Cavaliers are also possibilities.

The Cleveland thing would be interesting given LeBron's decision to publicly spurn the city the last time he was a free agent. James has admitted that televising his decision to leave the Cavs may have been a mistake, but opting out of his Heat contract now brings up all those bad memories, especially if he decides to stay in Miami. Wouldn't it have been easier to appease Heat fans and be a hero by playing out the contract? Of course, James could be opting out to take less money and form a new, even better Big Three in Miami. Whatever he decides, it's unlikely he'll do it quietly.

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NBA free agency begins on July 1. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh hold similar early-termination clauses in their contracts, signed along with James in the 2010 offseason.

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