After years of preparing, the Cleveland Cavaliers are finally starting to look like a real player for LeBron James this summer.
Early Wednesday morning, the Cavs were able to shed $9.5 million in a three-team trade with the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets, moving Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev to Brooklyn and Tyler Zeller and a first round pick to Boston. The Celtics also received Marcus Thornton as part of the deal. But the move was huge for Cleveland because it put Cleveland’s total cap space at just under $22 million, more than enough to sign LeBron to the max contract he wants.
Now it seems the Cavs are intent on making Cleveland as ideal a destination for LeBron as possible. From his early Cleveland days, the big gripe was that LeBron never had any help, that management didn’t do enough to keep him satisfied. With the Miami Heat, LeBron grew close to three-point specialists Ray Allen and Mike Miller…and now it appears the Cavaliers would be more than happy to add them both if it means appealing to James. Oh, and don’t forget about James Jones either.
Sources indicate the Cavs are also in pursuit of free agent James Jones, who can stretch the floor–& just happens to be LeBron favorite.
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 9, 2014
According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, the Cavs are actively pursuing Allen, while Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio is reporting Cleveland is also looking to add Miller. LeBron was close with his teammates in Miami and at this stage of their careers, they’re the kind of role players you need to build a championship team. Allen is the NBA’s all-time leader in three-pointers and Miller shot nearly 46 percent from three-point range last season. Allen and Miller would both need to take pay cuts in order for this to work, since LeBron is eligible for a max extension worth $20.7 million. But according to Amico, the Cavaliers probably aren’t done clearing cap space just yet:
How the Cavaliers intend to pull that off remains to be seen, but Cleveland is now fully operating under the assumption that it has a realistic shot at getting LeBron James back. LeBron’s agent Rich Paul and his family are rumored to be in Cleveland’s corner, but the ultimate decision remains with LeBron James himself. Still, all these moves have to be appealing to a guy who still hasn’t made up his mind and can hear home calling his name.