Report: Nets 'highly unlikely' to keep D'Angelo Russell if they sign Kyrie Irving

Johnny Flores Jr.Yahoo Sports Contributor
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/teams/brooklyn/" data-ylk="slk:Brooklyn Nets">Brooklyn Nets</a> head coach Kenny Atkinson talks to D'Angelo Russell during first-round NBA playoff series, Saturday, April 20, 2019, in New York. (AP)
Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson talks to D'Angelo Russell during first-round NBA playoff series, Saturday, April 20, 2019, in New York. (AP)

If the Brooklyn Nets land star point guard Kyrie Irving in free agency, then the team is willing to part ways with current guard D’Angelo Russell, according to a new report.

Per SNY’s Ian Begley, if Irving does sign with the team “it is highly unlikely that Russell remains with the Nets.” That idea has reportedly been communicated by the Nets over the last few days.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

Irving opts out, ‘prepared to sign’ with Nets

Earlier this week, Irving reportedly opted out of his $21.3 million deal for next season. Shortly after, Irving parted ways with his agent Jeff Wechsler and will partner with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports.

A day later, a report emerged linking Irving to the Nets. The Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett reported that Irving is “prepared to sign with the Brooklyn Nets when he becomes a free agent next month.”

Parting with Russell creates more cap space

Previously, the Nets cleared an additional $18 million in cap space by dealing Allen Crabbe and two first-round picks to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Taurean Prince and a future second-round pick.

The trade brought Brooklyn up to $46 million in space, which is enough to sign a max free agent and retain Russell, who will be a restricted free agent.

If the Nets would like to create two max free agent slots to sign Irving and another free agent like Kevin Durant, then parting with Russell becomes a necessity.

Doing so would create the additional cap space needed.

Russell, 23, is coming off of his first All-Star season and averaged 21.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and seven assists. His play helped push the Nets to a postseason appearance where they fell to the Philadelphia 76ers in five games.

A market for Russell has already begun to form, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic, Minnesota Timberwolves and Indiana Pacers are all expected to show interest in Russell.

NBA free agency begins on June 30.

More from Yahoo Sports:

What to Read Next