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NBA PM: The Impact of LeBron James’ Decision

A look at LeBron James’ decision to opt out, potential suitors for the superstar and how this impacts the NBA offseason.

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Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders and Noah Coslov of CineSport discuss LeBron James’ decision to opt out, potential suitors for the superstar and how this impacts the NBA offseason.

Pat Riley Responds to LeBron James’ Decision

Shortly after LeBron James announced that he would be opting out and becoming an unrestricted free agent this summer, Miami HEAT president Pat Riley responded.

“I was informed this morning of his intentions,” Riley said in a statement. “We fully expected LeBron to opt-out and exercise his free agent rights, so this does not come as a surprise. As I said at the press conference last week, players have a right to free agency and when they have these opportunities, the right to explore their options.

“The last four seasons have been historic and LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Erik Spoelstra have led the Miami HEAT to one of the most unprecedented runs in the history of the NBA. We look forward to sitting down with LeBron and his representatives and talking about our future together. At the moment, we are preparing for the opportunities in the Draft and Free Agency as we continue with our goal of winning NBA Championships.”

During an epic, hour-long press conference earlier this week, Riley challenged Miami’s stars to stay and continue their run of dominance.

“This stuff is hard and you got to stay together, if you’ve got the guts,” Riley told reporters. “You don’t find the first door and run out of it. … I’m pissed. I think everybody needs to get a grip. Media, HEAT players, organization, all of our fans. You gotta get a grip on greatness and on teams.”

When Riley was recruiting James and Bosh back in 2010, he slid his championship rings across the table and promised to make them champions. Now, he doesn’t need to do that.

“I’m not dropping championship rings on the table for those guys,” Riley said. “They can drop their own.”

There was some concern that the HEAT wouldn’t be willing to pay the luxury tax moving forward, since they have made some cost-cutting moves in recent years such as amnestying Mike Miller, refusing to use the mid-level exception and packaging a draft pick with Joel Anthony just to dump his contract.

This reportedly frustrated James, who wants HEAT owner Micky Arison to do whatever it takes to field a championship team. Riley fired back at that, saying money isn’t an issue for Miami.

“Micky will do anything to get those guys to come back,” Riley said, adding that it’s “BS” to think Arison won’t pay luxury tax.

This will certainly be an interesting summer, one that will not only affect Miami but potentially change the landscape of the NBA.

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Nick Young Opts Out of Contract

Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Nick Young confirmed to Basketball Insiders’ Lang Greene in a text message that he has indeed opted out of the final year of his contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.

“It’s true, yeah,” Young texted Basketball Insiders. “[I did it] today.”

Young would have earned $1,227,985 for the 2014-15 season, but by opting out he will become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Young’s preference is receive a multi-year deal from Los Angeles in order to remain with the Lakers organization long-term. However, he will also test the free agent waters this summer to fully evaluate the best options for his career.

Last season, the 29-year-old Young averaged a career-high 17.9 points for the Lakers, emerging as a significant contributor for the team. He shot 43.5 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from three-point range.

Young has also had stints with the Washington Wizards, Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers.

With Young opting out, the Lakers only have three players with guaranteed contracts on their roster for next season: Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Robert Sacre.

They currently have $34,116,243 in guaranteed commitments for next season, and are expected to be players in free agency.

Click here for a complete list of 2014 NBA free agents. Click here for a breakdown of every team’s salary cap situation. Click here for some free agency notes so you can better understand the process.

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Alex Kennedy is the Managing Editor of Basketball Insiders and this is his 10th season covering the NBA. He is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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