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The Timberwolves will demand Andrew Wiggins, the Cavs' No. 1 overall pick from last month's NBA draft, be a part of any proposed deal, sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Cavs have already made a salary-cap-clearing move to create room to possibly sign James by reaching agreement on a three-team trade that will send Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev to the Brooklyn Nets, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
For the Cavaliers, there are no assurances James will sign with them, but he did reach out to two veteran free agents last week about joining him if he were to leave Miami, sources told Yahoo Sports. Sharp-shooting forward Mike Miller was one of them. Miller could not go back to the Heat because they amnestied him. The Cavaliers, Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets are among the teams pursuing Miller with his market price rising to $4 million to $4.5 million annually, sources said.
If James does leave Miami, Chris Bosh's intention is to also leave the Heat, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Bosh has been speaking with the Houston Rockets, who are prepared to clear enough cap room to offer him a four-year, $88 million contract.
If the Cavs can't get James, their backup plan remains making a run at signing free-agent forward Trevor Ariza, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
James and agent Rich Paul are scheduled to meet with Miami Heat president Pat Riley and assistant general manager Andy Ellsburg, the team's salary cap expert, in Las Vegas on Wednesday, sources said. There's still an expectation among some rival general managers that James could tell Riley he wants a short-term maximum contract and remain with the Heat.
As part of the trade, the Boston Celtics will receive Marcus Thornton from the Nets and Tyler Zeller from the Cavs, along with the Cavaliers' top-10 protected 2016 first-round pick. The top-10 protection on the pick remains for the 2017 and '18 drafts. If the Celtics still haven't received the pick, it will be unprotected in 2019.
The Cavaliers receive the rights to Ilkan Karaman and Edin Bavcic, all former draft picks. The deal will free up more than the $20.7 million in cap space needed to offer James a max contract.