Free Agency is just around the corner and rumors are heating up quickly. For the first time in years, the Brooklyn Nets have been at the center of those rumors. The 2 biggest stars being linked to the Nets are Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Stephen A. Smith: Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to Brooklyn
Today on his show Stephen A. Smith said that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to Brooklyn is pretty much a done deal. That would be huge for Brooklyn. As fans, we can generally trust Stephen A. Smith breaking news this close to free agency. Remember before the famous summer of 2010 it was Stephen A. who first declared Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwayne Wade were teaming up in Miami. He has a history of making correct claims.
The salary cap still doesn’t quite match for the Nets just yet, however. There are a few moves the Nets still have to make to get to the proper amount of cap space. The Nets need to clear two max salary slots. In 2019-2020 the salary cap is expected to be $109 million. Based on years of experience the max salary slots are as follows:
- 0-6 years of experience can earn a max contract worth 25 percent of the salary cap ($27.25 M)
- 7-9 years of experience can earn a max contract worth 30 percent of the salary cap ($32.7 M – Irving)
- 10-plus years of experience can earn a max contract worth 35 percent of the salary cap ($38.15 M – Durant)
What It Means for the Nets
This means the Nets will have to renounce their rights to D’Angelo Russell who we are all sad to see go. However, getting KD and Kyrie will be huge for the Nets.
To hit the max salary openings the Nets will still need to clear about $2-3 million from their books. One of the biggest rumors related to this is the trading of promising Dzanan Musa. The Nets do not have to do this though. They can clear the space by waiving their non-guaranteed contracts. Those two players are Treveon Graham and Shabazz Napier. Losing either would not be a huge loss for the Nets.
Competing for a Championship
This gives the Nets a team that can compete for a championship as early as 2020-2021 when Kevin Durant returns healthy from injury. The list of recent NBA Finals MVPs shows us that in the modern NBA the most important position in high stakes playoff series. Teams need a forward who can create their own shot, defend across multiple positions, and create shots for others. Since 2012, with the exception of Andre Iguodala (who does 2 of the 3), the Finals MVPs have been either LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.
That is incredibly important because the Nets are getting one of those players in Kevin Durant if what Stephen A. Smith said is true. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant together reflect a lot of what KD and Stephen Curry did together. That pairing was almost unstoppable for the Warriors. Kenny Atkinson will have plenty of options for running his offense.
Another notable piece of free agency information is that the Nets might be targeting DeAndre Jordan to add bulk on the interior. The Nets got killed in the postseason by the 76ers’ big men, especially Joel Embiid. Jordan would help the Nets handle big men such as Embiid come playoff time.
Rotation for Next Year
The Nets would be able to put out a rotation next year of Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, Taurean Prince, Rodions Kurucs, Jarrett Allen, DeAndre Jordan, and another wing player. Musa or a minimum level free agent looking for a ring could be that player. That is a high-level playoff team. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant together turn the team into a championship contender the next year once Durant returns to full health.
This is all promising news for the Nets. However, until the players are actually signed this is still just a pipe dream for the Nets and their fans. The Nets could do a lot worse than bringing back D’Angelo Russell and running it back with a healthy squad next year. That is the worst case scenario.
For now, Nets fans can dream big for the future. Better days of playing into late May and June with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in Brooklyn could be on the horizon.