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Aaron Falk, Tony Jones and Steve Luhm cover the Utah Jazz and the NBA for The Salt Lake Tribune. The Tribune on Twitter - Aaron Falk: @tribjazz, Steve Luhm: @sluhm, Tony Jones: @Tjonessltrib

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What LeBron's return to Cleveland could mean for the Jazz

The biggest domino of them all has finally fallen.

LeBron James is going home to Ohio, making his announcement in a Sports Illustrated essay this morning.

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James had held the league somewhat hostage as free agency began, with teams waiting to see how the superstar's decision would affect the rest of the market.

Immediately, the Cavs become a playoff team — if not contenders.

Meanwhile, James' former teammate Chris Bosh is reported to be working on a max deal with the Houston Rockets. And that's where this thing could have some impact in Salt Lake City.

The Rockets need to clear cap space in order to give Bosh the max and still match the max offer sheet for restricted free agent Chandler Parsons.

The Rockets have to trade at least four players — and with the Jazz among the teams with cap space and willing to take on contracts for assets, expect Dennis Lindsey to get a call from his former employer.

Press reports indicate Philadelphia could be in the market for Jeremy Lin, a big-money contract that would likely net them draft picks or a player like Terrence Jones.

But if the Jazz match the offer sheet for Gordon Hayward, as sources indicate they will, the Jazz will still have about $8.5 million in cap space — and up to around $12 million depending on what the Jazz do with the non-guaranteed contracts of John Lucas, Ian Clark, Erik Murphy and Malcolm Thomas.

James' decision means other free agents will finally start seeing their deals get done, too. If the Jazz don't end up a player in the trade market, Utah could shore up its roster that way too.

— Aaron Falk



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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