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.
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.
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.
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