The Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly just took another step in their quest to bring back LeBron James by opening up a large amount of cap space in a three-team trade with the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics. Point guard Jarrett Jack and young center Tyler Zeller headline the trade.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports the deal can’t become official until Thursday, when the July moratorium ends, but all parties have agreed to the terms. Here are the details:
Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski provided additional details about what the Cavs will receive:
Essentially, the Cavs are doing this deal to free up as much cap space as possible. The draft rights to Ilkan Karaman, Christian Drejer and Edin Bavcic are ancillary benefits included just to make the trade legal. Cleveland isn’t hiding its intentions of adding James or another big-name free agent.
According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the Cavs will have enough cap room to accomplish that mission once the deal goes through:
If the Cavaliers don’t have a strong feeling about their ability to land James, however, this deal is a major risk. They are giving up some valuable assets—Zeller, Sergey Karasev and a future first-round pick—for basically nothing.
After an extremely successful stint with the Miami Heat, James has remained quiet since entering the free-agent market. Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press (via Cleveland.com) had a brief exchange with him between meetings on Tuesday:
Asked by The Associated Press how free agency was going when his afternoon meeting agenda was apparently complete, the four-time MVP said ‘no complaints.’ He offered a quick greeting, and provided no hints of anything—including when his next ‘Decision’ will be known—before leaving with a wave.
As for the trade itself, both the Nets and Celtics do well by lending Cleveland a helping hand.
Brooklyn adds Jack, who can help back up Deron Williams with Shaun Livingston having departed in free agency. Karasev could also step into the starting lineup if Paul Pierce decides to sign elsewhere this summer.
Boston gets a promising young player in Zeller as well as a future first-round pick to help with its rebuilding process. Marcus Thornton can also be a solid role player, although his value is largely as an expiring $8.6 million contract.
For the Cavaliers, it all comes down to how they use the cap space. If they are able to add James or another big name, it will be easy to crown them the winners of the trade. That’s not a guarantee, however, unless they know something the public doesn’t.
In other words, stay tuned.