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LeBron James to opt out of last 2 yrs of contract: Report

A person familiar with the situation tells The Associated Press that LeBron James has decided to opt out of the final two years of his contract with the Miami Heat and become a free agent on July 1.

Opting out does not mean James has decided to leave the Heat, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because neither the four-time NBA MVP nor the team had made any public announcement.

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James had two years and about $42.7 million remaining on his deal with the Heat. In his four seasons in Miami, the Heat have gone to the NBA Finals four times, winning two championships.

Earlier, ESPN reported that James planned to test the waters of free agency.

James was scheduled to make $20 million with the Heat next season. He ranks third on Forbes' list of the world's highest-paid athletes, with more than $72 million in annual salary and endorsements.

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The Miami Herald reported that James would be eligible to sign a contract of up to four years for as much as $85.5 million if he signed with another team.

Among those likely to be interested, the paper said, are the Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers.

—The Associated Press with CNBC.com