CLEVELAND — The Boston Celtics reportedly are part of the plan for the Cleveland Cavaliers to clear a path for LeBron James’ return, and should get their own boost in the process.

According to multiple media reports, Cleveland created salary-cap space with a three-way trade involving Boston and Brooklyn, ensuring it will have enough to offer James a maximum contract.

In the deal, which has not been confirmed by the Celtics, Boston will receive guard Marcus Thornton from the Nets and center Tyler Zeller from Cleveland, as well as a future first-round draft pick from the Cavs.

According to the Boston Globe, the pick that the Celtics will receive is a 2016 first-round pick that carries top-10 lottery protection. If the pick falls in the top 10 slots that year, the Cavaliers will keep it. If it doesn’t, then it’s the Celtics’ pick. That cycle could potentially repeat until 2019, when the first-round pick becomes unprotected, meaning the Celtics would get it no matter where it falls.

The deal won’t become official until the NBA’s moratorium is lifted Thursday.

A person familiar with the deals said the Cavs agreed to trade guard Jarrett Jack, swingman Sergey Karasev and Zeller to land James, the four-time league MVP and most sought after player on the market. Cleveland will receive Thornton from the Nets and send him, Zeller and a future first-round pick to the Celtics. In return the Celtics will send a future second-round draft pick to Cleveland, the sources said.

The Cavs will send Jack and Karasev to the Nets. Jack, who signed with Cleveland as a free agent last season, was scheduled to make $6.3 million, Zeller will make $1.6 million and Karasev $1.4 million. In trading those salaries, the Cavs have enough to give James a maximum $20.7 million contract – if he decides to sign with Cleveland. James, who played his first seven seasons with Cleveland before leaving as a free agent in 2010, met Wednesday with Pat Riley, the Miami Heat president, in Las Vegas.

Jack’s first season with Cleveland didn’t go as he or the Cavs had hoped. He signed a four-year, $25 million deal last July after playing in Golden State. The Cavs counted on him being a leader for their young team, but Cleveland finished 33-49, missed the playoffs and fired Coach Mike Brown.

Under NBA rules, teams must abide by a salary cap set by the league. If the combined salaries of the team’s roster surpasses the cap, teams are forced to a pay additional taxes. Last season, the salary cap was approximately $59 million, and the league announced Wednesday that it will increase 7.5 percent to an all-time high of $63.065 million for the 2014-15 season. The tax level – the point at which a team is penalized for exceeding the salary cap – for next season has increased by 7.1 percent to $76.829 million.

The Globe reported that Zeller, a 7-foot, 250-pounder, averaged 5.7 points and 4.0 rebounds in 15 minutes per game over 70 appearances with the Cavaliers last season. The 24-year-old Zeller is a former first-round draft pick out of North Carolina. He is set to make $1.7 million this coming season. The Celtics will also hold a team option on him for the 2015-16 season, allowing them to decide after they see him play if they want to keep him.

The Globe also reported that Thornton, a 6-foot-4, 205-pounder, averaged 9.8 points last season, which was divided between the Sacramento Kings and the Brooklyn Nets. He averaged 12.3 points in 23 games for the Nets, and 8.3 points in 46 games for the Kings. Thornton, 27, is a former second-round pick out of Louisiana State and is in the final year of a contract that will pay him $8.6 million next season. By taking on a player who has an expiring deal, the Celtics will have the ability to clear more salary-cap space for next summer by letting him go or by dealing him to another team.

NOTES: The Spurs and Coach Gregg Popovich agreed to a multi-year contract extension … Charlotte and restricted free agent Gordon Hayward have agreed on a maximum offer sheet, according to reports. Utah would have three days to match the deal once Hayward officially signs.

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