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LeBron tells Heat he will become free agent

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FILE - In this June 17, 2014 file photo, Miami Heat's LeBron James gestures as he answers a question during a news conference in Miami. A person familiar with the situation tells The Associated Press that James has decided to opt out of the final two years of his contract with the Heat and become a free agent on July 1. Opting out does not mean James has decided to leave the Heat, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because neither the four-time NBA MVP nor the team had made any public announcement. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

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First published Jun 24 2014 08:55PM
Updated Jun 24, 2014 09:13PM

Miami • LeBron James delivered his message loud and clear, without actually saying a word.

He’s willing to leave Miami, if that’s what it will take to win more championships. And what happens next will likely be up to not just the Heat, but Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh as well.

Through his agent, James informed the Heat on Tuesday that he has decided to opt out of the final two years of his contract, a move that means he becomes a free agent on July 1. He will be able to sign with any team, including Miami, and Heat President Pat Riley said he "fully expected" James to take advantage of his early termination option.

James — who averaged 27.1 points this past season — was owed $42.7 million for the next two seasons, though that seems irrelevant in the sense that he’ll be getting plenty of money from the Heat or someone else for years to come. If he stays with Miami, he could sign a deal that would give the team room to maneuver within the structures of the salary cap and luxury-tax threshold.

Kirilenko returning to Nets for 2nd year

New York • The Brooklyn Nets say forward Andrei Kirilenko has opted to remain with the team for the second year of his contract.

Kirilenko, who played for the Utah Jazz from 2001 to 2011, will make $3.3 million next season in the final year of a two-year, $6.5 million deal he signed last summer.

The versatile forward from Russia was limited to 45 games by injuries last season, missing 26 early in the season because of back spasms, and averaged 5.0 points.

Penguins’ Crosby is MVP for 2nd time

Seven years after Sidney Crosby won his first Hart Trophy, the Pittsburgh captain has been recognized as the NHL’s best once again.

Crosby won the NHL’s most valuable player award for the second time Tuesday night at the league’s postseason awards ceremony in Las Vegas.

After his first full season without major injuries since 2010, the Penguins’ 26-year-old center cleaned up at the NHL’s awards show to cap a fruitful year that included a second gold medal as Canada’s captain at the Sochi Olympics. Crosby also collected the Art Ross Trophy as the league scoring champion and the Ted Lindsay Award as the players’ choice for the NHL’s most outstanding player.

Crosby won his second NHL scoring title with 104 points, including 68 assists in his fifth career 100-point season.

Van Dyken-Rouen back in pool for rehab

Englewood, Colo. • Olympic swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen is getting back in the pool as part of her rehabilitation.

The six-time gold medalist tweeted early Tuesday that she was excited to find out she would be swimming later in the day.

On Monday, she posted a photo of herself standing up with the help of a standing frame at Craig Hospital in suburban Denver, where she arrived last week.

A June 6 ATV crash in Arizona has left the 41-year-old paralyzed just below the waist. The odds of her ever walking again are long but she has impressed her doctors and fans with her positive attitude.

The Associated Press

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