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Cavs deal Jack, Zeller to make cap space for landing LeBron

By Zach Harper | NBA writer

Doyel: LeBron owes Cleveland answer | Cavs pursuing Allen? | Latest FA news

The Cleveland Cavaliers are trying to clear enough cap space to be able to offer a max contract to LeBron James. After signing Jarrett Jack to a four-year deal last summer, they haven't had quite enough room to truly offer the max deal LeBron is seeking this summer, whether he goes home to Ohio or re-signs with the Miami Heat. The Cavs appear to have cleared that hurdle in creating cap space.

Ken Berger confirms the Cavs are sending Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev to the Brooklyn Nets; and a first-round pick and Tyler Zeller to the Boston Celtics. The Nets will send Marcus Thornton to the Celtics to complete the deal as the Cavs clear roughly $9.5 million off the books. ESPN's Marc Stein was the first to report the deal.

For the Cavaliers, clearing cap space to sign LeBron James is merely a detail in their pursuit of bringing him back to the franchise where he began his career. They also still have enough assets in Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins to move in a trade for a third star if LeBron does sign and wants someone like Kevin Love to join him and Kyrie Irving. The Cavaliers are also reportedly pursuing Ray Allen in a signing to help convince LeBron to come to Cleveland. Allen has been one of James' favorite passing targets, if not his favorite over the last two seasons, and Allen is believed to be looking to land wherever James lands.

For the Celtics, they're adding a decent young big man in Tyler Zeller along with a scorer on an expiring contract in Thornton. The first-round pick from the Cavs could also be a nice trade asset. For the Nets, they lost Shaun Livingston in free agency this summer but can replace him with a good veteran in Jack. Karasev is still developing but can now be under the wing of fellow countryman Andrei Kirilenko.

Jettisoning Jarrett Jack helps Cavs' cap situation.
Jettisoning Jarrett Jack helps Cavs' cap situation. (USATSI)

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