The Nets have bold ambitions this summer – trading for Anthony Davis, signing Kyrie Irving and maybe even Kevin Durant.
Now, Brooklyn will have the cap space to chase those stars.
This trade can’t become official until July. Once it’s executed, Brooklyn will clear about an additional $17 million in cap space – bringing its total room to about $47 million. If they renounce D'Angelo Russell, the Nets can increase their cap space to a projected $68 million.
That’s enough for two max players, depending on experience level. It wouldn’t be quite enough for Irving and Durant, but if they both want to join Brooklyn, the Nets will find ways to clear a couple million more. No problem.
By trading two first-round picks in unloading Allen Crabbe‘s burdensome $18.5 million salary, Brooklyn loses positive assets to send the Pelicans in a Davis deal. But the Nets are better-situated to absorb Solomon Hill‘s unwanted $12,758,781 salary from New Orleans.
Brooklyn also gets Taurean Prince, a solid young player. The versatile forward could fit well into the Nets’ rebuild, complement incoming stars or even get flipped in another trade.
With Prince outgoing, Kent Bazemore and DeAndre’ Bembry are the only remaining Hawks from when general manager Travis Schlenk took over just two years ago. Schlenk is building Atlanta back up around Trae Young, John Collins and Kevin Huerter. Three first-rounders in the upcoming draft – Nos. 8, 10 and 17 – give Schlenk even more tools to craft the team as he desires.
The Hawks lose major cap space in this trade, but they avoid a decision on Prince, who will be extension-eligible this offseason or a restricted free agent in 2020. Besides, Atlanta is too early in its rebuild to attract major free agents this summer.
The Nets, on the other hand, clearly believe they’re primed to land a big fish.