The Brooklyn Nets are gearing up for a wild 2019 NBA free agency’s season.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Brooklyn is sending Allen Crabbe, the 17th overall pick in the 2019 Draft and a 2020 lottery-protected first-rounder to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Taurean Prince and a 2021 second-round pick.
ESPN story on Brooklyn's daring trade of two first-round picks to clear double max-salary slots for free agency. Kyrie Irving is absolutely serious about the Nets, per sources. Free agency is on. https://t.co/ekY0NVhzN0
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 6, 2019
If the Nets didn’t already have your attention as a major player in the Great Player Migration of 2019, they’re commanding it now
The trade cannot be officially completed until July 6th, when Atlanta’s books will clear enough to give it the salary-cap room to absorb Crabbe’s contract. That is the whole point. By trading Crabbe, and his $18.5 million salary for next season, to a team with the cap space to absorb that money, the Nets do not have to take equal money back in the deal.
Prince is set to make $3.5 million next season. Throw in the slot value of the No. 17 pick, and that’s $18 million in additional cap space the Nets just created. All told, the Nets currently have $46 million in cap room. Let D’Angelo Russell walk, and they’ll have over $60 million in cap space.
The Nets have clearly done their homework and are looking to be the front runners in landing two max players.
Stephen A. Smith noted earlier this week that Kyrie Irving has given “every indication” to the Nets that he intends to sign with the team this summer after opting out of the final year of his contract with the Celtics. Wojnarowski confirmed Irving’s interest in Brooklyn on Thursday. They’ll likely also be among the suitors for Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, and Kemba Walker, and are one of the teams expected to make a big push to trade for Anthony Davis.
There will be a handful of teams with all the cap space in the world and nothing to show for it come September. Will the Nets be one of them? Stay tuned.