With one trade, the Brooklyn Nets have made its offseason plan known to the NBA world. Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Nets traded Allen Crabbe, the No. 17 overall pick this year and a protected first-round pick next year to the Hawks for Taurean Prince and 2021 second-round pick.
Following this transaction sending Crabbe to the Hawks, the Nets have enough cap space to sign two max free agents, just like the New York Knicks. With all the rumors surrounding Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving looking to team up in New York, Brooklyn is making it clear that there’s another option for them.
While the Knicks have the brand name going for them, Brooklyn has set itself up to be a great landing spot for top level players to sign, as the team has all the right ingredients from all levels of their organization. The Nets also don’t have the stigma of dysfunction that the Knicks reek of, something I’d imagine Durant and Irving might be put off by.
With this trade setting the Nets up to sign superstars, it presents the Phoenix Suns a great opportunity to nab D’Angelo Russell. Russell is a restricted free agent which means if Brooklyn wants to, they can match any offer sheet made towards Russell.
However, if the Nets do end up with two max free agents, Russell’s restricted rights would be renounced. As Bright Side’s Evan Sidery wrote last week about the Nets superteam chase relating to Russell, this is the only real possibility for it to occur.
The Suns would be an attractive destination for Russell, as him and Devin Booker are good friends off the court and the Suns are in desperate need for a starting-caliber point guard. Though the roster would have to be reshuffled to fit Russell onto their books — trading T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson along with stretching Tyler Johnson are possibilities — it immediately raises the team’s long-term ceiling adding a potent combo guard of his caliber.
The Suns would need to move fast in order to get this deal done. If the Nets get rejected early on by Durant and someone like Jimmy Butler, keeping Russell will be their intentions. But if the KD sweepstakes are successful, Brooklyn will happily let Russell walk after forming their own dynamic duo.
I’d imagine if the Nets sign Irving, which seems more possible than ever, they could let Russell walk anyways to build a better long-term title contender. Is Irving and Russell a backcourt that would be able to coexist?
So, what do you think Bright Side readers? Should the Suns prioritize Russell or spend their money elsewhere? It all depends on a few dominoes yet to play out in Brooklyn.