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LeBron James Will Reportedly Become Free Agent, Ending Miami Contract

Miami Heat superstar LeBron James, seen here at a news conference last week, will reportedly file papers to become a free agent, opting to end his contract with Miami.
Alan Diaz

NBA star LeBron James is shaking things up at the Miami Heat, reportedly opting to end his contract early to become a free agent. The move comes one week after James and the Heat were trounced by the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals.

"LeBron James' agent Rich Paul has told Heat LeBron will exercise early termination option," ESPN's Chris Broussard tweetedtoday.

Saying that it has confirmed the news with James' agent, USA Today reports:

"While James may ultimately return to Miami on a new deal, the pressure is now squarely on Heat president Pat Riley to win the recruiting war for James' services again like he did in the summer of 2010. James was set to earn $20.5 million next season on the contract that could have gone through 2016 (player option worth $22.1 million)."

According to The Miami Herald, "The Heat has long been considered the favorite to retain him, but several teams — including Houston and Chicago — will court him." The newspaper adds that James is also on the wish list of the Los Angeles Clippers.

As the Florida Sun-Sentinel reports, rumors about a possible move by James shifted into high gear after his wife, Savannah, posted an Instagram image Sunday showing James' hometown of Akron, Ohio, with the note "Home sweet home!! The countdown is real!"

Sources close to James told the newspaper that the post was merely celebrating their annual summer return to Akron.

The Sun-Sentinel notes that both of James' co-stars on the Heat, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, are also facing a June 30 deadline to decide whether to opt out of their contracts with the team.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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