The release came after business hours, but what it didn't say told the real story.

Shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday, the Heat issued a release that announced, "both forward James Jones and forward Rashard Lewis have exercised their player options for the 2013-14 season. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed."

Except . . . those are just two of the three Heat players with player options for next season, with Ray Allen the third.

The player-option deadline is Saturday.

The reality is that Ray Allen is not opting in.

But that also doesn't mean he's leaving.

As previously mentioned in this space, Allen benefits by not opting in, by not settling for the one year, at $3.2 million, remaining on the two-year deal he signed last summer when he left the Boston Celtics.

Instead, he now can utilize the arcane Non-Bird exception in the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement.

With that measure, he can start a new contract next season at a 20-percent raise over the $3.1 million he earned this past season.

In addition, under the Non-Bird guidelines, Allen can use that salary-cap exception to build a contract as long as four years, with annual 4.5-percent raises.

What it means is that Allen will become a free agent on July 1, just as he did last season.

It also means, because of the NBA's July signing moratorium, that the Heat cannot re-sign him until July 10, at the earliest.

Still, there is no need to panic.