The Brooklyn Nets recently took a huge step forward after successfully dumping Timofey Mozgov to the Charlotte Hornets for Dwight Howard’s expiring contract. Though they lost two second-round picks in the process, the deal enables the Nets to create enough salary cap space to sign two maximum-salaried players in the summer of 2019.
The 2019 free agency will be loaded with numerous NBA superstars like Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, and Kemba Walker. Successfully acquiring two of those players will undeniably make the Nets a legitimate playoff contender in the Eastern Conference. According to Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead, Irving and Butler could be Brooklyn’s top targets next offseason.
“Irving is a New Jersey native, and it is no secret that the point guard loves the NYC area. Yes, he’d love to play for the Knicks, but they’re very inept at navigating the salary cap. Unless the Knicks hustle, they’re not going to be players to land anyone in 2019. Irving is tight with Butler, who can opt-out of his Minnesota contract next summer. Butler has long wanted to play in LA because of his love for Hollywood and movies and that scene, but my guess is he gladly would take his talents to Brooklyn to play with his USA Basketball team pal Kyrie Irving.”
Next up in my Postmortem series: The Boston Celtics, who have done a brilliant job assembling a massive amount of talent. Doing so, however, comes at a cost: deciding who to pay. Here's my case for why Kyrie Irving could be the odd man out. https://t.co/hpdYp8klK1
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) June 13, 2018
The Celtics could prevent Kyrie Irving from hitting the free agency market in 2019 by giving him a massive contract extension this summer. Unfortunately for Boston, Irving isn’t interested in signing an extension, saying that it doesn’t make any sense for him contractually and financially. This will give the Nets an opportunity to make a strong pitch to Irving next offseason.
The same thing goes for Jimmy Butler, who was reportedly having a dispute with Andrew Wiggins in the Minnesota Timberwolves. According to Sean Deveney of Sporting News, Butler had problems with Wiggins’ work ethic and his approach on the defensive end of the floor. If the Timberwolves decide to keep Wiggins, there is strong chance that Butler will opt out of the final year of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
As of now, it remains questionable if Butler and Irving will consider teaming up in Brooklyn or even give them the chance to have a meeting in 2019 free agency. However, Nets fans must be excited to know that the team could finally do something productive in the offseason other than absorbing other team’s garbage contracts. The Nets are still far from returning to title contention, but they are currently taking the right path to become a significant team in the league.