Welcome to The Decision, Part II.
This is not a drill.
LeBron James' agent, Rich Paul, informed the Miami Heat that the four-time MVP will be exercising his early termination option, according to ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard. In case you think Broussard's playing some sort of twisted joke, USA Today's Sam Amick and Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski both confirmed his report.
King James' decision shouldn't come as a mind-melting surprise, nor does it portend his departure from Miami. Though he could have opted into the next year of his contract, this gives him the freedom to maximize his earning potential now while putting pressure on Pat Riley and the Heat to get their act together.
Reaching free agency also gives James the power of choice. Again, he's no lock to leave the Heat, but he could. That's now his right. He can take his talents elsewhere in search of what he wants most.
What is it he wants?
“I just want to win," James told reporters after the Heat's final team meeting. "That’s all that matters to me.”
That, and money. And location. Teammates, too.
There are so many factors that will go into James' next decision, and while he may have us believe that 30 options are at his disposal, he is bound by the same constraints as others.
So form an orderly queue, NBA free-agency players with, or in position to create, cap space. LeBron will be with you shortly.
Those who can't give him what he wants need not apply.