The Brooklyn Nets have been down towards the bottom rung of the NBA ranks ever since the massive trade with the Boston Celtics that ruined the future of the franchise for several seasons, but after years in NBA purgatory, each of their yearly lottery picks going to the Celtics and Cavs, the Nets may finally be in a position to compete next year if they perform well in free agency.
Once we hit the Summer of 2019, Brooklyn will have enough cap space to sign two max players if they can convince them to come to Brooklyn, with names such as Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Kemba Walker, DeMarcus Cousins, and DeAndre Jordan on the free agent market.
But the Nets may not have to wait that long to grab their first All-Star in several years, as rumors have been swirling that the Nets may be formulating a trade package to make a run for disgruntled Timberwolf Jimmy Butler.
According to Haley O’Shaughnessy of The Ringer, D'Angelo Russell could be on the trade block for Butler.
“Isn’t a star what GM Sean Marks keeps the Nets payroll so flexible for? Brooklyn reportedly cut off Minnesota after it asked for Russell, Caris LeVert, and picks. So far, the Nets have declined to extend Russell’s rookie contract, which would make the 22-year-old a restricted free agent next summer. There’s already a stigma attached to Russell, but there’s unignorable potential. The 22-year-old seems like he’s trying to be a better student of the game, or at least make Kenny Atkinson happy.”
The potential deal would make sense for both teams, as Minnesota would acquire two young players that would integrate nicely with the Timberwolves core of Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, meanwhile, the Nets would have their first marquee player since the days of Jason Kidd and Vince Carter, and Butler's wish of landing in New York would partially be granted.