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Cavaliers clear cap space for LeBron James by dealing Jarrett Jack to Nets

Jack was signed by Cleveland in free agency last year.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets are acquiring guard Jarrett Jack and shooter Sergey Karasev from the Cleveland Cavaliers in a three-team trade, according to Marc Stein of ESPN. The deal opens up max cap space for the Cavs' pursuit of LeBron James. The Boston Celtics, the other team in the trade, are set to acquire shooting guard Marcus Thornton, center Tyler Zeller and a first round draft pick from Cleveland, per SB Nation's Paul Flannery.

There's no secret to the Cavs' motivation in the trade. LeBron James is reportedly still considering Cleveland among his top options in free agency, and now the Cavs can give James the max contract he desires. James is meeting with Heat President Pat Riley on Wednesday in Las Vegas. There remains no time table for a decision.

Cleveland signed Jack to a four-year, $25 million contract a year ago in free agency following an inspired season in Golden State. Jack's shooting percentages dropped across the board last season as he struggled through the first year of the deal. The 30-year-old point guard averaged 9.5 points and 4.1 assists on 41 percent shooting from the floor and 34 percent shooting from three-point range. The Nets will also acquire Karasev, who was the No. 19 pick in the draft a year ago.

Boston used the traded player exception to facilitate the deal, per Flannery. The draft pick going to Boston is top 10 protected for three seasons starting in 2016 and becomes unprotected in 2019, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

Thornton is the player with the second biggest profile in the deal. The 27-year-old shooting guard was acquired by Brooklyn from the Sacramento Kings midway through last season and gave the Nets a scoring punch off the bench. Thornton averaged 12.3 points in 23 minutes per night during his 26 games with Brooklyn. He is a career 36 percent shooter from three-point range.

James' max contract would start at around $20.7 million per season. Cleveland now has more than enough space to fit that under the salary cap. James is reportedly seeking a short-term max contract.


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