LeBron opts out of contract with Heat

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Updated: 6/24 12:47 pm

Miami, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Get ready for a sequel to The Decision.

The Miami Heat were informed Tuesday that LeBron James will exercise his early termination option and explore the free-agent market.

Heat president Pat Riley wasn't surprised by the news.

"I was informed this morning of his intentions. We fully expected LeBron to opt-out and exercise his free agent rights, so this does not come as a surprise," Riley said in a statement.

He added that the team looks "forward to sitting down with LeBron and his representatives and talking about our future together."

James, a four-time NBA MVP, had a June 30 deadline to decide whether to opt out of the final two years of his deal with the Heat. He was scheduled to earn $20 million next season.

The 29-year-old James signed with the Heat in 2010 after spending his first seven years in Cleveland, announcing the news on a television special that drew plenty of criticism.

Miami reached the NBA Finals in each of James' four years with the club, winning back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013. The Heat were denied a three- peat by the San Antonio Spurs earlier this month.

James averaged 27.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 6.4 assists in 77 games last season.

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