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Where will he go? LeBron James choosing free agency, source says

By Ralph Ellis, CNN
updated 5:24 PM EDT, Tue June 24, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NBA superstar LeBron James to become free agent, source says
  • He led Miami Heat to 4 NBA finals, 2 titles
  • Social media buzzing with speculation about where he might go
  • Teams that might sign him: Cleveland Cavaliers, L.A. Lakers, Houston Rockets

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(CNN) -- Four years after "The Decision," LeBron James appears headed toward another one.

The burning question: Where will the NBA superstar land next?

The Miami Heat star and four-time league MVP has decided to exercise his contract's early termination option, meaning he'll be a free agent July 1, a source close to him told CNN's Rachel Nichols on Tuesday.

What's the big deal about a basketball player possibly changing teams? James is a rarity, an athlete so dominating that his personality transcends the sport. He's earned first-name recognition, like Cher or Barack.

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James' move would set up the 29-year-old star for a possible departure from Miami, where he has played the last four seasons, reaching four league finals and winning two championships.

He famously left his first team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, via free agency in 2010, teaming up with Heat star Dwyane Wade and fellow free agent Chris Bosh in Miami. James made that much-anticipated announcement in an ESPN special called "The Decision."

The world of social media buzzed Tuesday with speculation about where he might end up, the excitement fueled by the recent decision of James' buddy, Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks, to also try free agency.

What if those stars ended up together?

As ‏@Stuff4blackppl tweeted, "Wanting Melo and Lebron to join the same team."

@AlexKennedyNBA tweeted: "LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant all on the Lakers? L.A. is reportedly trying to make it happen."

Bleacher Report said top contenders for James' services include the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Houston Rockets and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Going to Cleveland would be like going home for the Akron native. A photo posted by James' wife, Savannah, on Instagram late Sunday night drew a quick reaction on social media.

The photo showed a map of Akron with the caption, "Home sweet home!! The countdown is real! #330". No explanation was provided.

Of course, it's always possible James will stay in Miami and try for another championship.

James' decision to check out free agency drew critics and defenders.

‏@GoldenEraSports tweeted: "If LeBron leaves the Heat; forget about him being compared to Michael Jordan. Champions don't leave their teams when it gets tough."

@georgewrighster tweeted: "4 #NBA finals in 4 years. 2 championships. LeBron has done his job. Whether he stays or leaves no one should bash the man."

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