By RICK SOLEM
LeBron James has opted out of his contract with the Miami Heat.
Though James has opted out, it doesn’t mean he’s leaving the Heat.
The determining factor in what James does will come down to whether or not Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade opt out of their near-max deals. Wade has two player options for $20.5 million this upcoming season and $21.6 million next season. Bosh has $20.1 and $22.1 million options the next two seasons.
If both opt-in, James would likely be gone, because that could severely restrict the Heat financially.
Other than the “big three” only Norris Cole and Udonis Haslem are under contract next season. The NBA allows up to five players on a team to be on the court at one time, but also allow for a bench of up to 13 players. The Heat have none, yet could probably still compete in the Eastern Conference.
Once Wade and Bosh make their decisions, James’ will likely follow.
The 30-year-old also has all the leverage and can pretty much do whatever he wants – re-sign for more, for less, sign with someone else, go play in the NFL, run for president, anything.