The NBA Finals may still be raging but 28 teams in the league are already focused on the offseason and making moves to set themselves up for the future. With that in mind, the Brooklyn Nets pulled off a trade with the Atlanta Hawks, shipping Allen Crabbe and two first-round picks to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Taurean Prince and a second rounder. This trade gives the Nets the possibility of paying two max-level free agents this summer while stockpiling the Hawks with even more draft assets, but it also has major implications for the Los Angeles Lakers as well.
The Lakers are one of the teams that will be pursuing top-level talent on the free agent market, and in that regard, the Nets freeing up enough salary to go after a second max-level player isn’t a good thing. Rumors have been swirling linking Celtics guard Kyrie Irving to the Nets, which could potentially take him off the market for the Lakers. Should the Nets land another star with him, like say Jimmy Butler or Kevin Durant, that would drain the talent pool considerably and leave slim pickings for teams like the Lakers, Knicks, and Clippers.
On the flip side, parting with those future draft assets likely makes the Nets less of a threat to trade for Anthony Davis. Furthermore, if the Nets’ deal is a sign that Irving is indeed Brooklyn-bound, that would mean that the Celtics would be losing their star and thus potentially be unwilling to put together a significant trade for Davis since it would be difficult to keep him once he hits free agency in 2020 if there isn’t another star playing with him.
Clearly, it’s going to be a busy summer for the Lakers, and this latest move by the Nets and Hawks is going to make it that much more dramatic.