LeBron James caused quite the stir on Tuesday when he decided to opt out of his current contract with the Miami Heat and make himself an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Oklahoma City Thunder superstar forward Kevin Durant, for one, told the Washington Post that he doesn’t understand why James’ move caused such a panic that The King was ditching South Beach.
“I don’t know what the big deal is,” Durant said, shortly after his new “KD7″ shoe was revealed. “You know, as a player, I think that’s the best way to go about it. You can have all your options. It’s better for you as a player to opt-out, because you can get a market deal, you can get more years. You never know what will happen if you pass up on that. So I didn’t know what the big deal was. I’m sure it was a decision he made — something he was thinking about — for him and his family.”
It’s hard not to agree with what Durant is saying here. LeBron’s decision to opt out has absolutely no bearing on whether he’s staying or leaving Miami. All it lets us know is that he’s exploring all of his options, which he has earned the right to do, and wants to sign a long-term contract.
Reading Too Much
In fact, one could look at LeBron opting out as a positive for the Heat; he now has the ability to take a below market value contract in Miami and give the team flexibility to add more talent to the roster. Had he opted in, one could surely make the argument that he was simply waiting for better options to become available after next season and his plans were to leave the Heat then.
It's left to be seen if Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade will both opt out as well, freeing up the cap space for James to stay at the Heat as well as bringing in other players around the Big Three which in the Finals was really only the big one.
The noise surrounding LeBron’s free agency is inevitable, but Durant certainly has a point that LeBron opting out isn’t as big of a deal as many of us made it out to be.