In order for him to return to the Heat, one of the key factors would be whether or not Dwyane Wade and/or Chris Bosh would opt out of their contracts to ultimately give the Heat more financial flexibility.
And D-Wade has opted out.
Dwyane Wade has opted out of last 2 years and $42 M of contract as expected, per AP. Working with Heat to give them spending money.
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) June 28, 2014
Playing in only 54 regular-season games, Wade averaged 19.0 points — his lowest average since his rookie season — as well as 4.5 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game. In the NBA Finals, however, Wade shot only 43.8 percent from the field and 69.2 percent from the line while averaging 15.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.6 steals per game.
The Heat were already the odds-on favorite to re-sign James and this move only makes it more likely that James will return.
[Update: Bosh has also opted out, per ESPN's Chris Boussard. Or he hasn't as NBA.com's David Aldridge says "Bosh has not yet decided whether to opt out."]