MIAMI – LeBron James is heading back to free agency.
James has told the Miami Heat that he is opting out of the final two years of his contract, a person with knowledge of the matter told The Associated Press on Tuesday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither James nor the Heat announced the move.
It does not mean James is leaving the Heat — but there's no guarantee that he'll be in a Miami uniform next season, either.
"There's no other decision yet," the person told AP.
James addressed the lure of having flexibility last week in his exit interview after the Heat lost to San Antonio in the NBA Finals.
"Being able to have flexibility as a professional, anyone, that's what we all would like," James said last week. "That's in any sport, for a football player, a baseball player, a basketball player, to have flexibility and be able to control your future or your present. I have a position to be able to do that. ... There's a lot of times that you're not in control of your future as a professional."
The other two Miami stars with early termination options — Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh — have not yet told the Heat or publicly revealed whether they will join James as free agents this summer. Bosh and James both said last week that the three would meet before deciding anything about their respective futures.
Each signed six-year deals when they famously teamed up in Miami in 2010, and all of those deals came with options to become free agents either this summer or in the summer of 2015.
"There's a conversation that will be had between the three of us," James said last week. "I think it's only right. I think we've earned that for each other, to have a conversation and see what could possibly happen."
James had about $42.7 million remaining on his deal with the Heat.