LeBron James has exercised the early termination option in his contract, making him a free agent. I know, I know – this was expected. Yes, it was. Well, unless you believed what ESPN’s Brian Windhorst was selling last week. The reporter closest to LeBron since his high school days went on numerous radio shows last week and noted that one option for LeBron was to opt-in to Miami for one more year, and make another run at a title with the Heat. The opt-in is now off the table, though in a week or so, LeBron could sign a 1-year deal in Miami (and go through all of this again next summer).
A couple reasons why LeBron’s opt-out decision today is mildly surprising:
1) Any team interested in LeBron has plenty of time to make moves to lure LeBron. Half a dozen creative GMs won’t be sleeping this week.
2) Houston in the mix?
3) Cleveland, do something!
4) He had six more days to make this decision. Why not push it up closer to the deadline like many other players? (See No. 1.)
5) The draft is in two days. Who is going to swing a big draft-night deal? Last year, the Celtics blew up.
6) Pat Riley, what’s the game plan to improve the roster?
7) Oh, LeBron’s wife’s instagram came Monday, and he opts-out Tuesday! WHOA!
And now, here comes the bucket of cold water:
If LeBron re-signs with Heat, he can earn $127.7 million over 5 years max. If he signs elsewhere, he can earn $94.8 million over 4 years max
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 24, 2014
Yes, Miami is the favorite. Yes, Cleveland is a longshot. Ditto Houston. New York can’t possibly be in play. If the Lakers want him, they better buy a lottery ticket.
The summer of LeBron has begun.
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