In a juicy twist of irony, free agent LeBron James will choose between his home state team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, that he scorned four years ago by bolting to Miami, or return to the Heat.
The Cavs sure are making the effort to attract James; they will trade guard Jarrett Jack to the Brooklyn Nets in a three-team deal that will free up more money under the salary cap to offer to James.
Yahoo! Sports reported that while James’ agent has met or had discussions with the Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets, the league’s premier player will either return to the Heat or rejoin the Cavaliers.
Miami president Pat Riley flew to Las Vegas, where James is hosting his annual basketball camp, to meet with the superstar on Wednesday. It was Riley who convinced James to leave his home team and chart new territory in Miami, where the Heat won two titles and made it to the NBA Finals all four of James’ years there.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Nets have agreed to take on the contracts of Jack and young player Sergey Karasey from the Cavaliers in a swap that also will see the Celtics acquire Brooklyn’s Marcus Thornton, Cleveland’s Tyler Zeller and a future first-round pick from the Cavaliers. The Cavs will have to acquire at least one future second-rounder from either Brooklyn or Boston to complete the transaction.
The moves would give the Cavaliers $21.7 million in cap space. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported that the Cavaliers are also now trying to strike a deal with Heat free agent guard Ray Allen as a means of enticing James even more into a return to Cleveland.
The trade can’t be officially consummated until Thursday, when a league-wide moratorium on signings and trades is lifted at 12:01 a.m.
Riley is working, however. He reached agreements to sign center-forward Josh McRoberts and forward Danny Granger on Monday.
The meeting with Riley on Wednesday is believed to be the first meeting James has participated in since opting out of the final two years and $42 million of his Heat contract.