LeBron James has declined the player option on his contract and will become a free agent on July 1, his agent Rich Paul confirmed to ESPN’s Chris Broussard.
James has already said he will return to the Cavaliers next season. As a free agent, James can take advantage of the NBA’s salary cap spike and sign a contract that gives him a bigger salary than the one that was on his option.
The four-time MVP was scheduled to make $24 million next season. By opting out, James can sign a new contract that starts at $27.5 million with the Cavs.
James is expected to pull a similar maneuver next summer, when the salary cap will jump to another record high.
James was named the 2016 Finals MVP as the Cavaliers won their first championship in franchise history earlier this month.