The Slatest

LeBron James Opts Out of Contract, but Isn’t Necessarily Leaving Miami

What’s next for LeBron?

Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP/GettyImages

Miami Heat superstar LeBron James will exercise an “early termination option” in his contract that allows him to become a free agent on July 1, the Associated Press reports. However, the report notes that he may re-sign with Miami:

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.

When James and fellow stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh signed contracts with Miami in 2010, they each took lower salaries than they were allowed under the NBA’s rules—a collective decision to sacrifice potential income in order to be able to play on the same team. (In addition to limiting individual salaries, the NBA limits the amount a given team is allowed to spend in total on players in a given year.) James’ decision to become a free agent could be the beginning of another, similar process in which he, Wade, and Bosh all sign new contracts with the Heat that give the team further financial room to add talent. (Miami, which won NBA titles in 2012 and 2013, was beaten emphatically by the San Antonio Spurs in this year’s Finals.)

But then again, it also means that LeBron could go back to Cleveland! Or maybe Chicago! Or the moon! Imagine that—moon basketball!