Will Kyrie Irving cause D’Angelo Russell to leave the Brooklyn Nets in free agency this summer?
It appears as though the Brooklyn Nets will have a new point guard this summer, which puts D’Angelo Russell’s future with them in doubt.
In mid-June, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reported Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving is “prepared to sign with the Brooklyn Nets when he becomes a free agent” at the end of the month. Meanwhile, SNY’s Ian Begley reported “it is highly unlikely that Russell remains with the Nets” if Irving does sign with them.
Russell is set to become a restricted free agent, which means the Nets will have matching rights on any offer sheet he signs unless they renounce his rights. Whether they do so may depend on if they’re able to attract a second star to pair with Irving.
The Nets could carve out roughly $67.6 million in salary-cap space if they renounce Russell, giving them enough room to sign two players with less than 10 years of NBA experience to max contracts. Even if they keep his $21.1 million cap hold on their books, they’ll have more than $47 million of cap room, which is more than enough to sign Irving to a max and round out their supporting cast with other free agents.
If the Nets do let Russell walk, he’s expected to “draw significant interest on the open market,” according to Begley. In early June, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported the Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic, Minnesota Timberwolves and Indiana Pacers “are among the teams expected to show an interest” in Russell this summer.
Based on salary-cap space, team needs and recent reporting, the following five teams stand out as Russell’s most likely free-agent landing spots.