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Report: LeBron James to opt out of contract and become a free agent

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LeBron James' agent has informed the Miami Heat that his client will opt out of his contract and become and unrestricted free agent.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

This was no surprise to the Miami Heat, but news is out, first via Chris Broussard, that LeBron James will opt out of his contract by June 30 and become a free agent. What this means is that the Heat still can have constant contact with LeBron until he opts out next Monday, essentially giving them an open door to talk about the future.

James' decision is part of the plan for the Heat in retooling their roster. If they can convince him to take a slight paycut (remember, he made $30 million with Beats this year), and give them some flexibility in making additions, he could be on his way to a few more years of dominance in South Florida.

But, Pat Riley has his work cut out for him. LeBron is now open for bidding, and you can rest assured that other teams will through everything but the kitchen sink at him to bring him to their club. The Houston Rockets are a serious threat and have been linked to trying to acquire James.

This decision, in no way, means LeBron won't be on the Heat next year. It simply was his bargaining chip to create a better roster for the Heat to compete in the next few years. LeBron will have a lot of say in what happens next, and we should expect the same things to happen from both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh over the next week.

Expect there to be plenty of discussion and panic, but the Heat still have the inside edge to keep all of them.

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