Sources: Cleveland Cavaliers trade Jarrett Jack to Nets, clearing space for LeBron James
If LeBron James plans on heading back to Cleveland, it looks as if the Nets will have played a part in the reunion.
In a move that created needed salary-cap space for the Cavaliers, the Nets agreed Wednesday to acquire guards Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev in a three-team trade also involving the Celtics, league sources confirmed.
Boston will receive Marcus Thornton from the Nets and will get Tyler Zeller and a future first-round pick from the Cavaliers. Yahoo reported the Cavaliers also received the draft rights to Nets picks Christian Drejer, Edin Bavcic and Ilkan Karaman.
The trade is expected to become official Thursday when the league's moratorium on signings and player movement ends.
It is unclear whether this trade truly aids the Cavaliers' pursuit of James, who met with Heat president Pat Riley in Las Vegas Wednesday.
Chris Sheridan of sheridanhoops.com reported that James is going back to Cleveland. But several other outlets reported James didn't give Miami a decision on his future, indicating he planned to talk things over with his family before letting everyone know whom he'll suit up for next season.
James' meeting with Riley capped yet another day filled with speculation, which has been the norm with James since free agency began July 1. Reports suggested that the Cavaliers were pursuing Mike Miller and Ray Allen, James' good friends and former teammates. Given he's the biggest fish in the free-agent pond, James' indecision has gummed up the market.
The Nets got what they wanted out of the deal, which was made possible partly because of the Celtics' $10.3-million trade exception, which Boston received in last July's blockbuster trade that brought Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn.
Jack, 30, is a player the Nets have targeted for a while, and he will help soften the blow of losing Shaun Livingston, who agreed to a three-year, $16.6-million deal with the Warriors last week. Jack gives the Nets another scorer and someone who can handle the ball to take some of the pressure off point guard Deron Williams.
The nine-year veteran from Georgia Tech has two years valued at $12.6 million remaining on his contract, and he is scheduled to make $6.3 million in 2014-15. Jack's deal also includes a non-guaranteed $6.3 million for the 2016-17 season. That means adding his contract won't foul up the Nets' vision of having a lot of cap space to make a run at the 2016 free-agent class, one that could include Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant.
The Nets had been after Jack for a while and were trying to land him at the trade deadline in February. The price reportedly was too high, ultimately making them settle for obtaining Thornton and his scoring punch off the bench.
Jack is coming off a down season and heard criticism for not living up to the big free-agent deal he signed last summer. Jack averaged 9.5 points a game and shot only 41 percent from the floor -- his lowest output in each category since 2010-11.
Karasev is a 6-7, 196-pound shooting guard from Russia. The 20-year-old, whom the Cavaliers drafted No. 19 overall last year, played 22 games for them this past season and made only 12 of 35 shots. He's someone the Nets were said to have liked coming into the draft, but he wasn't around when they selected Mason Plumlee at No. 22.