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LeBron James' agent, Rich Paul, has informed the Miami Heat of his client's decision to exercise the early termination option on his contract and become a free agent on July 1.

Paul confirmed the decision via text message to USA TODAY Sports. While James may ultimately return to Miami on a new deal, the pressure is now squarely on Heat president Pat Riley to win the recruiting war for James' services again like he did in the summer of 2010. James was set to earn $20.5 million next season on the contract that could have gone through 2016 (player option worth $22.1 million).

ESPN first reported the news.

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