It really shouldn’t surprise anyone that Lebron James opted out of the final two years of his contract in Miami, but maybe that fact that he did it six days before his opt out deadline date and two days before the NBA Draft is somewhat surprising.
Per ESPN.com reports, James agent Rich Paul notified the Miami Heat that the 4-time NBA MVP would indeed be testing the free agent waters, just like he did when he had the same opt out clause in Cleveland back in 2010.
While James could still end up resigning with the Heat for more years and more money (about $30 million more over 1 year), this at least gives other teams around the league who thought they had a chance to sign James a legitimate shot to convince him that his best chance to win more titles is to sign with them and not back with Pat Riley in South Beach.
The Cavaliers have been rumored to be one of the teams that will go hard after James to try and bring him back to Cleveland where he spent the first seven years of his NBA career before leaving in free agency in July of 2010.
In his time as a Cavalier he led Cleveland to their only appearance in the NBA Finals, but came up short of a championship, losing to the Spurs in four games in 2007. For the Cavs to have any shot at bringing James back to Northeast Ohio two things have to happen.
One, team owner Dan Gilbert and James will have to patch up their differences after what happened because of the “The Decision” in 2010 and Gilbert’s letter that followed.
Two, new G.M. David Griffin must convince James that his new coaching staff made up so far of head coach David Blatt and associate head coach Tyronn Lue along with the Cavs roster he will have come opening day 2014-15 will give LeBron the best chance to win a title in 2015 and for years to come.
During his four years in Miami, James led the Heat to the NBA Finals each year, winning titles in 2012 and 2013. Miami failed to “Three-Peat” though this year, as LeBron and the Heat were knocked off by the San Antonio Spurs in five games. It is believed that James will end up where he thinks he has the best chance to play for more championships.
So let the recruiting and the “Summer of LeBron 2” begin.