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LeBron James bypasses option, becomes free agent

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LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts against the Golden State Warriors during Game Six of the 2015 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 16, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

CLEVELAND — A person with knowledge of the decision tells The Associated Press that LeBron James will not exercise a $21.6 million option on his contract, making him a free agent on July 1.

The decision was widely expected, but James has no plans to leave Cleveland again. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither the Cavaliers nor James were publicly discussing the process.

James made a celebrated return to Cleveland last season, and he decided to sign a two-year contract with a player option for next season. The decision allows James to sign a new max contract that will pay him more than $22 million next season.

James led the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals, where they lost to Golden State in six games.

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