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Agent: LeBron James opts out of Heat contract

LeBron James's agent Richie Paul has told the Miami Heat his player will exercise an early termination option and become an unrestricted free agent, ESPN reported on Tuesday.

Four-times National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player James had until June 30 to decide whether to opt out of the final two years of his contract.

He was due to earn $20 million next season. Qualified players become free agents on July 1.

The decision allows James to explore his options, including signing a new deal with the Heat where he has played in four successive NBA Finals, earning two titles since joining them as a free agent in 2010 after seven seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The announcement came one day after fellow All-Star Carmelo Anthony opted out of the final year of his deal with the New York Knicks to test free agency.

Anthony was due to earn $23.5 million with the Knicks.

James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, Miami's 'Big Three' who signed together as free agents, are coming off a five-game loss to the San Antonio Spursin the NBA Finals.

In contrast, San Antonio's evergreen power forward Tim Duncan, 38, decided late on Monday to continue for an 18th campaign with the Spurs by exercising his $10.3 million option for next season.