The long-rumored trade of 2013 free agent acquisition, Jarrett Jack, finally came to fruition this morning—as the Cleveland Cavaliers were involved in a three-team deal with the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets. According to reports, Jack and Sergey Karasev are on the move to Brooklyn, while Tyler Zeller and a protected 2016 first-round pick are on the move to Boston along with Brooklyn’s Marcus Thornton. The Cavaliers will also acquire the draft rights to three players who are currently playing overseas who will likely never join the team.
For the Cavaliers, this move was all about clearing cap space to potentially sign LeBron James to a max contract. Now armed with enough cap space to make the move, the Cavaliers organization is again waiting on James to make a decision—one that is expected to be made this evening after a meeting with Pat Riley and his agent in Las Vegas.
However, this is not a move that will only benefit the Cavaliers if they land James this offseason.
Clearing Jack’s $6.3 million contract off the books a couple of years early will give the Cavaliers options even if they miss out on him. Combined with Karasev’s projected $1.53 million and Zeller’s projected $1.7 million (all salaries from Spotrac.com), it opens up an additional $10 million for the Cavaliers this offseason—and even more next offseason.
Now, most fans do not want to hear the words “next year” right now because their hopes are riding high for James. But sometimes you have to be prepared for the worst, and the worst could see the Cavaliers with an abundance of cap space to try to sign players like Chandler Parsons or Trevor Ariza this offseason, or hold off and make a run at LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol or another big-name player in the summer of 2015.
The fact of the matter is that with or without James, the Cavaliers have 22-year old Kyrie Irving signing a five-year deal worth $90 million and the No. 1 overall pick in Andrew Wiggins—two very nice selling points to future free agents. So while this move was obviously made to clear cap space to attempt to sign James, it could still work out for the organization in the future if he does not choose Cleveland.