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Report: LeBron James 'undecided' on future, will likely opt out

By James Herbert | NBA writer

More Offseason Analysis: Coaching changes, news | Free Agency | Draft

Miami Heat superstar LeBron James hasn't given any public hints as to his future with the team, and while it's been reported that he's "very likely" going to stay where he is, no decision has been made yet, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst:

After finding a championship formula in Miami, which led to four consecutive Finals appearances, not to mention a beautiful and warm-weather city to call home, James is still undecided on whether to stay. The Heat have hoped that James would be so pleased with these past four years that this phase would have been just a formality.

That is just not the case -- but it is not catastrophic either. The Heat have built plenty of trust and capital with James and have established a track record of stability and success that is almost unmatched in the league. The ability to follow through on promises made is rare in the NBA, and the Heat, for the most part, have kept them. Miami also has an unmistakable advantage not of its own doing: It plays in the Eastern Conference.

The Heat are the favorites; this is not in question. But there is a window of doubt due to the way the season ended, Wade's health and some bitterness James harbors that Micky Arison put the brakes on spending over the past year.

James reportedly will go on vacation and talk with his family, then discuss what's next with his inner circle, meet with the Heat braintrust, reach out to Carmelo Anthony and, finally, get together with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. He wants to win in the short-term and long-term, and "his most likely path is to opt out of his contract after the draft so that he will maximize his flexibility while putting the teams on the clock," according to ESPN.

This time, James might only figure out what he wants to do in mid-July, which would allow Miami and other teams to make moves in trades and free agency in order to offer him the best possible environment. It became clear in the NBA Finals that the Heat must find a way to reload in the offseason, and this will give them plenty of incentive to do so. James is no longer concerned with what people think of him, according to ESPN, and he has all the power in the world.

LeBron James can be a free agent this summer.
LeBron James can be a free agent this summer. (USATSI)

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