Two trades by the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday open the door for the potential return of LeBron James to his home state.
As the four-time MVP was set to sit down with Miami Heat president Pat Riley, the Cavaliers dealt away three first-round picks in separate trades involving the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics.
The moves leave the Cavaliers with $21.7 million in cap space, enough to offer James a maximum salary slot. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, James’ agent, Rich Paul, advised the Cavaliers to make the moves necessary to offer James a max deal.
Point guard Jarrett Jack and his $6.2 million salary was shipped to the Nets along with Sergey Karasev. The 20-year-old Karasev was the 19th overall pick in the 2013 draft.
Tyler Zeller and a lottery protected first-round pick went to the Celtics in exchange for a second-round pick as part of three-team deal that also included Marcus Thornton landing in Boston. Thornton is in the final year of his contract and is scheduled to earn $8.69 million next season.
The trades shed a total of $9.35 million in salary for the Cavaliers.
The Celtics, who remain in pursuit of Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, now have a total of $33 million in salary coming off the books before the 2015 offseason when Love is an unrestricted free agent.
Jack, 30, signed a three-year deal with the Cavaliers worth $18.5 million prior to the 2013-14 season. His 2014-15 salary was an obstruction for the team in finding the cap space to lure James to Cleveland.
Cleveland receives the draft rights to three players from the Nets: Ilkan Karaman, Christian Drejer and Edin Bavcic.
The trades will not be official until the moratorium on roster changes is lifted Thursday.
No decision yet for Anthony
Free agent Carmelo Anthony has yet to make up his mind on where he’ll play next season and beyond, ESPN reported Wednesday night.
Leon Rose, Anthony’s agent, confirmed to ESPN that Anthony still hasn’t committed to a team the day before players can begin signing contracts.
ESPN reported that Anthony is waiting to announce his decision until free agent LeBron James reveals where he plans to play next season.
Earlier, a person close to Anthony said that barring a last minute change of heart, Anthony will re-sign with the New York Knicks after “agonizing over this” for the past week.
“He will have something for everybody on Thursday,” said the friend who was with Anthony before Anthony’s scheduled workout with Kevin Durant and Kevin Love in Los Angeles on Wednesday, according to the New York Daily News. “He is really torn because this is the biggest decision of his career. But he wants to get it done in New York. He told me he believes in Phil (Jackson).”
The star forward is expected to sign a five-year, $129 million maximum contract. He had been reportedly considering the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls.