Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant reacts after making a basket against the New York Knicks during the first half at Madison Square Garden. (Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports)
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant reacts after making a basket against the New York Knicks during the first half at Madison Square Garden. (Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports)

Entering the summer of 2019, Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks has every reason to say "checkmate" to those who doubted his vision for the organization when he took over in 2016. He refused to skip steps or make a splash move to accelerate the rebuild. He was going for "singles" and "doubles" as opposed to swinging for the fences when he didn't have enough juice to hit one.

But now, following a playoff tussle in Year Three of the rebuild, Marks has put himself in a position where free agents might approach the Kiwi GM with their own way of saying, "Check, mate?"

Several league sources have told SNY that top-tier free agents, including Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Tobias Harris, will at least consider Brooklyn this upcoming July when it's time to find their next home - if they decide to leave.

"Making the playoffs definitely helped their chances," one source said.

The tone and approach to Marks' exit interview has changed dramatically from the day he took over. There's a sense of cautionary optimism that the Nets will indeed be able to lure in top-tier free agents and Marks is ready to take that next step in his career. He has all the tools he needs in order to recruit one or even two free agents: Big market, culture, young core, winning team, and a coaching staff that focuses on players' development and well-being, both on and off the court. 

"The process we went through this year - and there's a lot of positives that've come out of this year - can only help," Marks said. "It's going to attract free agents. People are going to want to play here. They're going to want to play for Kenny [Atkinson], they're going to want to play in Brooklyn, they're going to play for this ownership group. We have a lot of things going for us."

The Nets will have space for two max free agents if they're able to trade Allen Crabbe's contract, renounce D'Angelo Russell and let go of the six other players without a deal this upcoming summer. Brooklyn also has two first-round picks and the Knicks' second-round pick at No. 32, which rival GM's see as a late first-rounder.

They haven't committed to the 23-year-old All-Star in Russell since it's become obvious that they will go big-game hunting. Crabbe's expiring contract will be expendable on draft night, where the Nets will likely look to trade him in a salary dump with draft picks and/or a young player attached.

"I'm not sure there's pressure to act frivolously or out of the norm," said Marks. "This is something that if the right player is available, obviously like any other team we'll target those guys. We'll see how this builds out… For us to even have these conversations, that's exciting."

It's no secret at this point. Free-agents-to-be expressed their desire to stay with the organization, but they also understand the Nets have put themselves in pole position to go above and beyond and sign a big name. The contingency plan would be to hold onto what they already have and build upon that, but keeping the team they have now versus landing a big name could be the difference between an above average playoff team or a legitimate championship contender.

"To get to the semifinals, Conference Finals and the Finals, you do need those top-tier players, at least one that's gonna go out and get you 25 [points] a night," nine-year veteran Ed Davis said at Brooklyn's exit interviews. "That's just how the NBA is now with all these teams stacked up with 3-4 All-Stars."

The Nets had enough to back their case entering the season - the intangible things mentioned like a culture and identity, nonetheless the fact that they play in the biggest market in the world. However, it was their success on the court that's creating buzz around the league.

"If you're a top-tier player, this is an organization you want to be at, from coaching to the performance," DeMarre Carroll said. "Our young core helped change some of the perspective of these top-tier players."

The final sentence rings true, namely Caris LeVert who has a strong relationship with Durant. 

SNY has learned that while Durant has yet to make any sort of decision, he's interested in playing alongside the 24-year-old LeVert, who was on track for an All-Star season before suffering a dislocated foot back in November. 

While the hype is around KD and the Knicks, don't sleep on their relationship. Zach Lowe of ESPN has mentioned the relationship and described how Durant loves LeVert.

"It's like a big brother," LeVert said when he was asked about his relationship with Durant. "He reached out when I was in college. Obviously, we had similar injuries and things like that and the same surgeon. He's like a big brother… He's obviously played on a huge stage right now repeatedly for a couple of years playing in the Finals and things like that. He gives a lot of good advice."

LeVert and Durant's relationship is deeper than most realize. In college, LeVert's nickname was "Baby Durant." The two had the same surgeon when the two underwent surgery on their foot back in 2015. The surgeon is Dr. Martin O'Malley, Brooklyn's foot and ankle specialist.

LeVert quietly went out to California and trained with Durant back in the summer of 2017, one in which LeVert explained was KD's first workout of the summer. Durant told him, "Be ready for that moment. [He said] 'Make sure you're ready for it; make sure you're ready to play your best when the spotlight is on you.'"

And he was ready.

LeVert was Brooklyn's best player in the playoffs, averaging 21 points and four rebounds on 49 percent shooting in 28 minutes per game. 

It isn't just him, though. He's a byproduct of what the Nets have built. A culture can only be as strong as the people inside -- and the people inside have connections to others as well. 

Kawhi Leonard is another top free agent expected to at least give the Nets a look. Marks has solid rapport with Leonard's uncle and advisor, South Orange, N.J.-based Dennis Robertson. It should be noted that Marks spent time with Kawhi in San Antonio, as well as Brooklyn's assistant coach/scout Tiago Splitter who played with him for four seasons. The two will be integral in trying to lure Kawhi away from the Toronto Raptors.

"All the connections should at least get [the Nets] a meeting with Kawhi," one league source said.

The Spurs connection is real. Brooklyn's assistant general manager, Trajan Langdon, served as a pro scout for the Spurs from 2012-15. He was also a member of the team's front office during their 2013-14 championship season. Furthermore, assistant coach Bret Brielmaier worked four seasons with the Spurs (2009-13), where he began his career as a player development assistant before becoming the team's video coordinator his final three seasons.

Assistant coach Chris Fleming, also Brooklyn's offensive coach, served as a Spurs Summer League coach in 2014.

Kyrie Irving is a name worth keeping in mind, too. The New Jersey native grew up a Nets fan and is intrigued by what they've built. During an NBA TV discussion in February, former Cavaliers GM David Griffin argued that Brooklyn is the "Fit that's better for him in terms of his mindset." He later added, "I think he likes what they've done there, culturally."

There's no shortage of free agents this upcoming summer. Tobias Harris has connections with head coach Kenny Atkinson, both Long Island natives who grew up no more than 15 minutes away from one another. Atkinson's brother, Steve, coached Harris' youngest brother, Terry. Steve was the most recent Half Hollow Hills West head coach, and a prior assistant at the same school. Tobias finished his senior year with Hills West, while the other Harris brothers, Terry and Tyler, were standouts at Hills West.

One source close to Harris' camp explained how Tobias likes his role in Philadelphia, but the idea of returning home is something he will likely consider this summer. 

Other names have been mentioned, such as Jimmy Butler, who put the Nets atop his list of destinations when demanding a trade out of Minnesota. Similar to Tobias, a source close to Kemba Walker said the star point guard is intrigued by the idea of coming back to play in his home state -- including both the Knicks and Nets.

It won't be easy. The Nets will have legitimate contenders for these free agents come July with the Knicks, Lakers and Clippers all holding enough cap space to compete with the Nets and pry coveted free agents away.

"The advantages they have here is, for one, the foundation and the culture we have," 12-year veteran Jared Dudley said at his exit interview. "And not just in New York and in the NBA, one of the best young cores here. They have draft picks, they have cap space."

There's more to it, as Dudley explained.

"I'm pretty sure over there with the Knicks there's a little more media to deal with, a little more scrutiny… If you want to be here in Brooklyn, if some players want to live in the city and you can drive 10-15 minutes to practice, or do you want to go all the way to Westchester and take an hour [drive] and have a driver? You know what I mean? There's a lot of different stuff, man."

The little things go a long way. The Nets send flowers to the wives and parents of each and every player that walks through their practice facility doors. According to Dudley, the Nets have at least 30 people on the training staff. They send text messages every morning asking how players' bodies feel. On Monday mornings, they do tests to see if you're fatigued and need more rest to help prevent injury. Players wear a catapult vest to test how they are running in order to have numbers for everything.

The word "culture" can get tossed around too easily, but it's much deeper than people realize. These are things behind the scenes that people don't get to see that will help Brooklyn. 

It's something Marks will certainly discuss as free agents walk through the doors of Sunset Park. For the Knicks and Lakers, Brooklyn's competence and attention-to-detail very well might be the difference-maker in snagging a top free agent away from the "bigger brothers" on the block.

Of course, Russell is a restricted free agent and only 23 years old. Letting him walk would go against everything Marks and co. have preached since taking over. In an ideal world, the Nets would bring Russell back along with a superstar, but they're going big-game hunting and so far there's been zero commitment.

It's become clear that if there was ever a time for the Nets to lure in the franchise's first big free agent, it's now.

Tags: Allen Crabbe, Caris LeVert, D'Angelo Russell, DeMarre Carroll
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Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant sits on the court after an apparent injury during the second quarter in Game 5 against the Toronto Raptors of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena. (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant sits on the court after an apparent injury during the second quarter in Game 5 against the Toronto Raptors of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena. (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)

Nets general manager Sean Marks said in an interview with WFAN on Tuesday that Kevin Durant - and Durant alone - will decide when he returns to the court for Brooklyn. He also said the club will give Kyrie Irving a 'clean slate,' rather than pass judgement on what may or may not have happened with Irving last season in Boston.

Marks touched on those topics - and several others - during his interview with WFAN's Evan Roberts. 

Here are some highlights:

Tags: D'Angelo Russell, Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie, Ian Begley
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Mar 15, 2019; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs small forward Rudy Gay (22) reaches in to steal the ball from New York Knicks power forward Henry Ellenson (right) during the second half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports (Soobum Im)
Mar 15, 2019; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs small forward Rudy Gay (22) reaches in to steal the ball from New York Knicks power forward Henry Ellenson (right) during the second half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports (Soobum Im)

Another NBA player has chosen Brooklyn.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday that 22-year-old forward Henry Ellenson has agreed to sign a two-way deal with the Nets, where he will compete for a role on the team's bench. He will also be eligible to be sent down and recalled from the Long Island Nets, Brooklyn's G-League affiliate, without having to be placed on waivers.

Ellenson is a big forward at 6'11 and 245 pounds, but profiles best as a stretch four. Over his first three NBA seasons, Ellenson has averaged 4.3 points and 2.5 rebounds while shooting 35.3 percent on three-pointers. He had his best statistical season last year, averaging 6.0 points and 3.5 rebounds while hitting 44.7 percent of his three-pointers with both the Pistons and Knicks.

Tags: Henry Ellenson
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Mar 20, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard David Nwaba (12) defends Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton (22) in the second quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports (David Richard)
Mar 20, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard David Nwaba (12) defends Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton (22) in the second quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports (David Richard)

The Nets and guard David Nwaba have agreed to a two-year deal, according to The Athletic. The contract includes a team option for the second year. 

Upon his signing, Nwaba brings the Nets to a full 15-man roster, after the team made big splash free agent additions earlier this offseason in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Nwaba, 26, played with the Cavaliers last season, averaging 6.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. 

According to ESPN, Nwaba's deal is for the veteran minimum, $1.7 million and $1.8 million each season, respectively. Nwaba will battle with the likes of Garrett Temple, Caris LeVert and others for playing time in 2019. 

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Team LeBron forward Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors handles the ball against Team LeBron guard Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics during NBA All-Star Game practice at the Bojangles Coliseum. (Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports)
Team LeBron forward Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors handles the ball against Team LeBron guard Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics during NBA All-Star Game practice at the Bojangles Coliseum. (Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports)

The NBA completely reshaped itself in a little over a week's time, shifting the balance of power in dramatic ways for years to come.

Gone are the days of the unbeatable Golden State Warriors, ditto for the Russell Westbrook-led Oklahoma City Thunder and fledgling Los Angeles Clippers. The Knicks have seen similar changes in their own neighborhood, as the splash the Brooklyn Nets made in free agency has made the Atlantic Division no walk in Central Park. 

Here are the starting lineups each team in the revamped Atlantic Division could roll out come October, ranked, and how the Nets stack up:

 

Tags: Caris LeVert, D'Angelo Russell, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Spencer Dinwiddie
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Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant between plays against the Portland Trail Blazers during the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena. (Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant between plays against the Portland Trail Blazers during the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena. (Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)

The Brooklyn Nets did not even need a meeting to secure Kevin Durant in free agency. 

GM Sean Marks revealed at a press conference on Tuesday that Durant committed to the Nets via Instagram without even taking a meeting or speaking with the team. 

"The Instagram post that he put out, we were all sitting in the office and we all got that in real time with you guys," Marks said. "We weren't even sure if we were getting a meeting that night or a telephone conversation with him."

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Apr 5, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) watches the Indiana Pacers shoot a free throw during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)
Apr 5, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) watches the Indiana Pacers shoot a free throw during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)

Nets guard Joe Harris played with Kyrie Irving in Cleveland and he believes the public perception of Irving doesn't align with the person he knows.

"Kyrie, he's got a big personality. I think he's one of these guys that's misunderstood," Harris told reporters in Las Vegas, per The Athletic's Michael Scotto. "I think the way that he's construed in the media is probably going to paint him in a light that is not necessarily true."

Harris said he had 'a lot of good times' with Irving when they played together in Cleveland for parts of two seasons.

Tags: Spencer Dinwiddie
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Atlanta Hawks forward Taurean Prince reacts after making a 3-point basket in the third quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at State Farm Arena. (Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports)
Atlanta Hawks forward Taurean Prince reacts after making a 3-point basket in the third quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at State Farm Arena. (Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

LAS VEGAS -- With Kyrie Irving and (an injured) Kevin Durant on the roster, the Nets, understandably, have high expectations.

"Now it's championship talk. That's all you've got to think about, It's what we've got to work toward," new Net Taurean Prince said on Sunday at halftime of Brooklyn's Summer League game. "We've got to do exactly what we've got to do to get there. Whether it's with Kevin Durant or without him, and then next year even with him, it's same talk."

Brooklyn added Durant and Irving to a team that won 42 games and made the playoffs last season. Durant, of course, is expected to miss the season while rehabbing from an Achilles injury.

Tags: Caris LeVert, D'Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie
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Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)

Kevin Durant will have a fresh start and a fresh jersey number with the Nets.

Durant revealed he will wear No. 7 with Brooklyn.

"35 took my family and me from Seat Pleasant, MD, and showed us the world," Durant wrote. "... But as I start this new chapter inn my basketball life, the number I'll be wearing on my back is the number 7 next time you see me on the floor."

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Dec 8, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (24) dribbles the ball against New York Knicks forward Kevin Knox (20) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Dec 8, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (24) dribbles the ball against New York Knicks forward Kevin Knox (20) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

With the major chips falling in NBA free agency, the next tier of signings are underway and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is now a former Brooklyn Nets player.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the 24 year old has signed a one-year deal with the defending champions, the Toronto Raptors. Hollis-Jefferson is a former first-round pick, going off the board at pick No. 23 at the 2015 NBA draft. Hollis-Jefferson was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers and then his draft rights were traded to the Nets where he spent the first four years of his career.

Tags: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
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Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving brings the ball up court against the Indiana Pacers during the third quarter in Game 3 of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. (Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports)
Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving brings the ball up court against the Indiana Pacers during the third quarter in Game 3 of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. (Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports)

The Nets announced two of their five big free-agent signings on Sunday, making the Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan deals official.

Three more signings remain: Wilson ChandlerGarrett Temple and, of course, Kevin Durant.

"The entire coaching staff is excited to have the opportunity to coach a player of Kyrie's caliber," Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said in a press release. "He is as talented and accomplished as any point guard in our game and we are enthusiastic about integrating him and our other new roster additions into our returning core."

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Apr 18, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Jared Dudley (6) and head coach Kenny Atkinson argue with official James Capers (19) in the third quarter in game three of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)
Apr 18, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Jared Dudley (6) and head coach Kenny Atkinson argue with official James Capers (19) in the third quarter in game three of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports (Wendell Cruz)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Ex-Net Jared Dudley has some interesting insight on Kevin Durant's decision to sign with the Nets (over the Knicks) and DeAndre Jordan's role in Brooklyn's acquisition of Durant and Kyrie Irving.

In an interview with ESPN's The Woj Pod, Dudley, who signed with the Lakers on Thursday, said Irving and Durant made the right decision to sign with Brooklyn "because of the organizational stability over there."

While making it clear that he wants the Knicks to do well because it's good for the NBA's business, Dudley believes that the Nets will usurp attention from the Knicks now that they have Durant and Irving.

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Apr 24, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; LA Clippers forward Wilson Chandler (22) warms up before game five of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports (Kelley L Cox)
Apr 24, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; LA Clippers forward Wilson Chandler (22) warms up before game five of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports (Kelley L Cox)

The Nets' roster overhaul continued on Tuesday evening, with the team reportedly adding veteran Wilson Chandler.

According to a report from Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports, Chandler will join the Nets on a one-year deal.

An 11-year NBA veteran, Chandler has spent time with the Knicks, Nuggets, Sixers, and Clippers, averaging 12.9 point per game. He's always been a decent three-point shooter as well, shooting 34.3 percent from beyond the arc.

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Knicks need to develop players 00:01:38
SNY NBA Insider Ian Begley discusses the Knicks recent FA signings and how building up their young core will be key in getting future FAs.

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Let's take a look at some issues surrounding the seismic events of the last two days for the Knicks and the Nets: 

WAS KEVIN DURANT GOING TO COME TO THE KNICKS?

Executives and agents felt for months that if Durant decided to leave Golden State, he was going to come to the Knicks. Several of Durant's current and former teammates believed it was going to happen. During the season, people around Durant were telling confidants that he was likely headed to the Knicks if he chose to leave Golden State, per SNY sources. And it's safe to assume that Durant wasn't planning to come alone. The Knicks, of course, had enough cap space to land two stars. 

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Apr 5, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) warms up before the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)
Apr 5, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) warms up before the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)

The Nets made the biggest free agent splash when they landed Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to their team next season.

These two top free agents had options this summer as to where they wanted to spend the next few years in their careers. For Irving, playing back home was something he envisioned, and that's the reasoning he gave in an Instagram video he posted on Monday...

CHECK IT OUT BELOW

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Apr 13, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) reacts to his bench during a break in the second quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers in game one of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)
Apr 13, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) reacts to his bench during a break in the second quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers in game one of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)

The Nets continue to surprise everyone this offseason with another unexpected move on Sunday night. 

D'Angelo Russell is reportedly the crux of a sign-and-trade deal with the Warriors, reports The Athletic's Shams Charania. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski added the terms to the deal being four years, $117 million. The deal will also include G Shabazz Napier and F Treveon Graham from Brooklyn to Golden State. 

The Nets extended a qualifying offer to Russell on Friday, as they looked forward to their splashes in the free agency pool. It was always expected that if the Nets landed Kyrie Irving, which they did along with Kevin Durant, that Russell's time in Brooklyn was over as SNY's Ian Begley has been reporting.

Tags: D'Angelo Russell, Scott Thompson
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Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are both coming to New York ... but they're not playing their home games at Madison Square Garden.

Durant and Irving both agreed to four-year near-max deals with the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, making them contenders in the Eastern Conference while also putting the New York Knicks in a position where they had to release a statement about how they missed out on two of the top free agents.

How did New York's back pages react? Well ...

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Durant to the Nets 00:02:46
SNY's Ian Begley with breaking news that superstar Kevin Durant will sign with the Brooklyn Nets

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

The Brooklyn Nets have two of the best players in the NBA - a gut punch to the New York Knicks.

Kevin Durant announced on Sunday via his sports business network "The Boardroom" that he will be playing with the Nets next season.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, who first reported Durant's commitment, the two-time Finals MVP is expected to sign a four-year contract worth just below the max of $164 million. Durant is expected to be joined by his friend, Kyrie Irving, who reportedly will work quickly on reaching an agreement with the Nets.

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New York Knicks center DeAndre Jordan dribbles the ball against Minnesota Timberwolves forward Luol Deng during the first half at Madison Square Garden. (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Knicks center DeAndre Jordan dribbles the ball against Minnesota Timberwolves forward Luol Deng during the first half at Madison Square Garden. (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)

After agreeing to four-year near-max deals with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Nets added DeAndre Jordan to a four-year, $40 million contract, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

Jordan, whom Brooklyn was targeting amid its pursuits of two of the top free agents in this year's class, joined the Nets after both Durant and Irving took less than the max deals they could have received, according to Wojnarowski.

Durant could have received a four-year, $164 million deal, while the Nets could max Irving's contract at four years, $141 million.

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Apr 5, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) watches the Indiana Pacers shoot a free throw during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)
Apr 5, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) watches the Indiana Pacers shoot a free throw during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)

The long-expected marriage between Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets is almost here.

ESPN reported on Saturday that the Nets will meet with Irving when free agency opens on Sunday night and both sides are 'motivated to move quickly' to agree on a max contract of four years and $141 million. 

The Irving signing means the end of D'Angelo Russell's run in Brooklyn. SNY reported earlier this month that it was highly unlikely that Russell would remain in Brooklyn if Irving signed there. ESPN reported Saturday that Brooklyn is expected to either renounce Russell, which would allow him to become an unrestricted free agent, or execute a sign-and-trade.  

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Begley on Durant and Nets 00:01:10
Ian Begley breaks down the latest free agency rumors surrounding Kevin Durant and the Knicks.

Kevin Durant will reportedly have conversations with four teams when free agency officially begins on Sunday, and both the Knicks and Nets are on his list.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Durant will engage with the Nets, Knicks, Clippers, and Warriors when free agency begins. SNY Insider Ian Begley has confirmed that the Knicks expect to have an audience with Durant, while also noting that it's unclear if they will land a meeting with Kawhi Leonard.

Sources told Begley earlier on Friday that the Nets are not the favorites to sign Durant, which had become a prevalent thought in recent days.

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Apr 7, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) dribbles the ball against Indiana Pacers guard Darren Collison (2) during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)
Apr 7, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) dribbles the ball against Indiana Pacers guard Darren Collison (2) during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)

The Nets have reportedly made the expected move of extending D'Angelo Russell a qualifying offer, making him a restricted free agent.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Friday that the Nets have extended the offer to Russell, meaning that they'll have the right to match any offers the point guard receives.

The Nets could choose to eventually renounce the offer, should they land coveted six-time All-Star Kyrie Irving.

Tags: D'Angelo Russell
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Jan 26, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) works against Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half of a 115-111 victory by Golden State at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports (Winslow Townson)
Jan 26, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) works against Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half of a 115-111 victory by Golden State at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports (Winslow Townson)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

The Brooklyn Nets have nearly enough cap space for two max players. So we know they are going to be hunting for top free agents in a couple of days. They have a strong core of young players and are coming off of a season in which they increased their win total by 14 games and made the playoffs. So it seems logical that they'd be a strong suitor for some of the top free agents.

But besides their recent on-court success, there's another element in Brooklyn that could be attractive to potential free agents: their medical and performance staff.

Here's how Nets veteran Jared Dudley described the medical staff shortly after the season:

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Jan 28, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts by pounding on his chest after making a play against the Indiana Pacers during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)
Jan 28, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts by pounding on his chest after making a play against the Indiana Pacers during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

There have been some strong suggestions on television and radio recently that the Brooklyn Nets are the front runners for Kevin Durant.

But that notion is not accurate. Sources familiar with the matter told SNY that the Nets are not the front runners or favorites to sign Durant at the moment.

Durant, according to The Athletic, has not yet decided if he'll meet with teams when free agency starts on Sunday night. But if he does, those meetings will take place in New York, according to the website.

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Apr 13, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) reacts to his bench during a break in the second quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers in game one of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)
Apr 13, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) reacts to his bench during a break in the second quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers in game one of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)

It appears that the Lakers have interest in bringing back D'Angelo Russell, the player they drafted second overall in the 2015 NBA Draft.

According to a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Lakers have 'serious interest' in the All-Star point guard. Charania cites the Lakers' familiarity with Russell as one of the main reasons they'd be interested in a re-union with him. 

Russell has steadily improved his game in each of his four NBA seasons, earning his first All-Star selection in 2018-19 when he averaged 21.1 points, 7.0 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game.

Tags: D'Angelo Russell
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Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard drives against Philadelphia 76ers guard Jimmy Butler during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)
Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard drives against Philadelphia 76ers guard Jimmy Butler during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Something that could impact the Knicks and Nets: Multiple teams have expressed interest in pairing Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler together in free agency this summer, per league sources familiar with the matter.

Those teams, obviously, would need to create the cap space required to sign both players. The teams interested in Butler and Leonard believe they would have interest in playing on the same team, per league sources.

This doesn't suggest that Leonard is seeking to team up with any other player; that doesn't fit his persona. But teams interested in pairing Leonard and Butler believe they would have interest in playing together.

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April 30, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) during the third quarter in game two of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Houston Rockets at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Rockets 115-109. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)
April 30, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) during the third quarter in game two of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Houston Rockets at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Rockets 115-109. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)

Kevin Durant is officially a free agent, as ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski says he has declined his $31.5 million option to return to the Warriors next season. 

Before Durant's Achilles injury, this move was basically 100 percent going to happen. But there was the thought that he might want to opt back into his deal with Golden State following his surgery, and then hit the market next season. 

However, Woj added that opting in would be Durant's "last resorts, as teams have still shown tremendous interest in arguably the best player in the league, even though he is likely out all of next season. SNY's Ian Begley has been reporting the Knicks believe they are among the desired teams in Durant's camp...

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Feb 20, 2019; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs forward Nicolas Claxton (33) dunks the ball against the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the second half at Stegeman Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports (Dale Zanine)
Feb 20, 2019; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs forward Nicolas Claxton (33) dunks the ball against the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the second half at Stegeman Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports (Dale Zanine)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

At his introductory press conference on Monday, new Net Nicolas Claxton left no doubt that he can fit well with Brooklyn center Jarrett Allen.

"I think that me and him, on the same court, will able to be extremely disruptive, especially on the defensive end," Claxton, the 6-foot-11 big from Georgia selected 31st overall by Brooklyn, told reporters on Monday.

Tags: D'Angelo Russell, Jarrett Allen, Ian Begley
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Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard drives for the basket against Milwaukee Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon during the fourth quarter in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Fiserv Forum. (Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports)
Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard drives for the basket against Milwaukee Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon during the fourth quarter in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Fiserv Forum. (Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports)

With free agency less than a week away from kicking off in the NBA, the Nets have been closely related with some of the top players on the market, including Kawhi Leonard

According to the latest odds released by Odds Shark, Brooklyn has fell down the list of teams. 

The Nets had the third-best chances (+650) at the beginning of the month, but that has changed. Now the Nets are fifth on the list at +1600. Here's how the odds shake out...

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Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

The NBA draft was further proof that the Nets are going for the big prize this upcoming summer: max free agents.

After trading Allen Crabbe, the No. 17 pick and their 2020 first-rounder, GM Sean Marks then traded the No. 27 pick to the Clippers for the rights to their first-rounder next year and the No. 56 pick.

What that did is free up further cap space leading into free agency in order to land top free agents, namely Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.

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Mar 13, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, United States; UCLA Bruins guard Jaylen Hands (4) dribbles the ball past Stanford Cardinal guard Marcus Sheffield (14) during the second half of a Pac-12 conference tournament game at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports  (Stephen R. Sylvanie)
Mar 13, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, United States; UCLA Bruins guard Jaylen Hands (4) dribbles the ball past Stanford Cardinal guard Marcus Sheffield (14) during the second half of a Pac-12 conference tournament game at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports (Stephen R. Sylvanie)

The Los Angeles Clippers, selecting for the Nets in a proposed trade, took PG Jaylen Hands from UCLA with the No. 56 pick in the NBA Draft Thursday night. 

Hands joins the Nets via the Clippers after Brooklyn traded its 27th overall pick to Los Angeles earlier in the draft. 

The 19-year-old showed significant improvement his sophomore season at UCLA, leading the Pac-12 in assists (201) and assists per game (6.1) and was second-team All Pac-12. 

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Mar 13, 2019; Nashville, TN, USA; Georgia Bulldogs forward Nicolas Claxton (33) runs the ball up the floor against Missouri Tigers guard Jordan Geist (15) during the second half of the SEC conference tournament at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Mar 13, 2019; Nashville, TN, USA; Georgia Bulldogs forward Nicolas Claxton (33) runs the ball up the floor against Missouri Tigers guard Jordan Geist (15) during the second half of the SEC conference tournament at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)

With the No. 31 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Nets selected Georgia F Nicolas Claxton

Brooklyn had the No. 27 pick in the Draft, but they traded it away to the Clippers for their No. 56 pick and a 2020 first-rounder. In doing so, the Nets created a little more cap space -- around $2 million -- to use for their free agency pursuits this summer. 

The Nets initially put the No. 31 pick on the trade block, but they're going to keep Claxton, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Brooklyn is supposedly impressed by what Claxton has done with the Bulldogs. 

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Instead of using their pick at No. 27 overall, the Nets traded away their selection to the Clippers. 

Brooklyn selected for Los Angeles, taking Florida State C Mfiondu Kabangele. In exchange, the Nets will receive the Clippers' No. 56 overall pick in this draft as well as their 2020 first-round via the 76ers, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Why would the Nets trade away their pick, especially with a player like Bol Bol still on the board? Cap space. 

Tags: Los Angeles Clippers
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Nov 20, 2018; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks center Bol Bol (1) scores a basket over Green Bay Phoenix forward Shanquan Hemphill (10) during the first half at Matthew Knight Arena. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Wayrynen)
Nov 20, 2018; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks center Bol Bol (1) scores a basket over Green Bay Phoenix forward Shanquan Hemphill (10) during the first half at Matthew Knight Arena. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Wayrynen)

Brooklyn was among several teams to attend a private workout for Oregon big man Bol Bol before the NBA Draft. The Nets have the 27th and 31st picks in the first round. Bol Bol is projected to be selected of those two picks.

The Nets have expressed an interest in finding a big who can complement Jarrett Allen in the draft, as SNY previously reported.

Some members of the organization were impressed by Terence Davis' recent workout with the club. Davis has caught the eye of several teams during workouts, which is impressive considering he wasn't invited to the original NBA Draft Combine, and earned an invite via the G League version of the Combine.

Tags: Jarrett Allen
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Trojans guard Kevin Porter Jr. drives on Colorado Buffaloes guard Shane Gatling in the second half at the CU Events Center. (Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports)
Trojans guard Kevin Porter Jr. drives on Colorado Buffaloes guard Shane Gatling in the second half at the CU Events Center. (Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports)

Despite the infamous Celtics trade that trickled into Sean Marks' start as GM, the Brooklyn Nets have made the most of their late picks in recent years.

In 2016, they traded Thaddeus Young to the Pacers for the 20th pick, who would become Caris LeVert. The Bojan Bogdanovic/Chris McCullough trade in 2017 turned into Jarrett Allen, drafted 22nd overall. Both are now franchise rising stars.

This year, the Nets own the Nos. 27 and 31 overall picks. Perhaps they package them together in an effort to move up. Maybe they take the European route, like they did last year when they selected Dzanan Musa of Bosnia and Rodions Kurucs of Latvia.

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Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving reacts during the first half against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. (Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports)
Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving reacts during the first half against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. (Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports)

The Nets have been considered the favorites to add Kyrie Irving this summer, but could there be a change of plans?

According to a report from Brian Lewis of the New York Post, the Nets may now be unsure of adding Irving if he can't bring Kevin Durant with him.

The Nets' preferred scenario, according to Lewis, is to pair the two superstars together in Brooklyn.

Tags: D'Angelo Russell
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May 6, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) reacts during the first half in game four of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)
May 6, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) reacts during the first half in game four of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)

It has been known for awhile now that the Nets may benefit from one Celtics departure in Kyrie Irving this summer. But will he be joined by another? 

Al Horford, the five-time All-Star center, is reportedly no longer discussing an extension with Boston and will hit the market looking for another team. According to the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett, Horford is expecting to sign a four-year deal elsewhere. 

And as for potential landing spots for the veteran, NBC Sports Boston's A. Sherrod Blakely says to look out for the Nets. 

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May 8, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) during game five of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)
May 8, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) during game five of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)

Al Horford is reportedly set to hit the free agent market.

The five-time All-Star will decline his $30 million option with the Celtics, and though there had previously been a thought that Horford would return to the Celtics on a more team-friendly deal, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald is now reporting that Horford will look elsewhere, likely for a four-year contract.

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Brooklyn Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson arrives before the game against the Chicago Bulls at Barclays Center. (Nicole Sweet/USA TODAY Sports)
Brooklyn Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson arrives before the game against the Chicago Bulls at Barclays Center. (Nicole Sweet/USA TODAY Sports)

The Nets non-tendered forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, making him an unrestricted free agent and clearing more cap space ahead of free agency, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Brooklyn did not give the 24-year-old Hollis-Jefferson a qualifying offer, which according to Yahoo! Sports' Keith Smith gives the Nets approximately $47.4 million in salary cap space.

That number, according to Smith, would increase to $67.5 million if they don't retain restricted free agent D'Angelo Russell.

Tags: D'Angelo Russell, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
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Mar 19, 2019; Sacramento, CA, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) slaps his chest during the second quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Szczepanski)
Mar 19, 2019; Sacramento, CA, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) slaps his chest during the second quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Szczepanski)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

As of late this week, teams interested in pursuing Kyrie Irving remained under the impression that the Nets were the odds-on favorite to land the point guard, per sources. But no team interested in Irving, including the Knicks and Lakers, had been led to believe that they are out of the running to sign him, those sources say.

If Irving ends up signing in Brooklyn, it may have an interesting ripple effect on the roster, particularly D'Angelo Russell.

Russell, a restricted free agent, will likely draw significant interest on the open market. The 23year-old is coming off of an All-Star season in which he helped lead Brooklyn to the playoffs. Members of the Pacers organization are high on Russell, SNY sources confirm.

Tags: D'Angelo Russell
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Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell reacts to a score against the Philadelphia 76ers during the third quarter in Game 1 of the first round of the 2019 NBA playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)
Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell reacts to a score against the Philadelphia 76ers during the third quarter in Game 1 of the first round of the 2019 NBA playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)

Now that the Toronto Raptors have been crowned the 2019 NBA Finals champions after defeating the Golden State Warriors in six games, it is time to shift gears toward the 2019-20 season. Which means looking at the early odds for next year's champion. 

For the Nets, they appear to be in pretty good position before entering free agency. 

Per the latest from Odds Shark, the Nets are slated at 20-to-1 odds to win the NBA Finals next year. 

Tags: D'Angelo Russell
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Apr 5, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) watches the Indiana Pacers shoot a free throw during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)
Apr 5, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) watches the Indiana Pacers shoot a free throw during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)

Kyrie Irving may have already decided on his next destination.

A report from Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald states that sources associated with Roc Nation, whom Irving is expected to choose as his representation after letting go of longtime agent Jeff Wechsler, have said that Irving is prepared to sign with the Nets this summer.

The Nets share a couple of notable connections with Roc Nation, most notably that Roc Nation president Michael Yormark is the twin brother of Nets CEO Brett Yormark. Nets guard Caris LeVert is also a Roc Nation client.

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May 6, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts during the second half in game four of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)
May 6, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts during the second half in game four of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports (Greg M. Cooper)

It looks like Kyrie Irving has made his decision. 

According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Irving is not opting into his $21.3 million deal for next season, opening the door to him becoming a free agent this summer. This was an expected move by the All-Star point guard, who had an option date on Thursday. 

SNY's Ian Begley is hearing from sources that teams monitoring Irving's situation remain under the impression that, if he chooses to leave Boston, the Nets are currently the most likely destination for him. 

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May 9, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris (33) reacts during the first quarter against the Toronto Raptors in game six of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)
May 9, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris (33) reacts during the first quarter against the Toronto Raptors in game six of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports (Bill Streicher)

The Nets are going to be heavily active in the free agent market this summer, and it looks like another top-of-the-list player wants Brooklyn to extend an offer. 

Tobias Harris and the Nets reportedly have mutual interest in each other, per The Athletic's Michael Scotto.

Harris has bounced around the NBA during his eight-year career thus far. His most recent squad was the Sixers, who traded for him with the Clippers as they made a playoff run. Harris was solid in Philadelphia, averaging 18.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game while shooting 47 percent from the field. Overall last season, he averaged 20 points over 34.7 minutes per game...

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What the Nets trade means for KD 00:00:48
Ian Begley breaks down what the Nets trade means for Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and the New York Knicks. Who can the Nets sign now?

The Nets' trade on Thursday puts them in a stronger position to battle with the Knicks for top free agents this summer.

Brooklyn dealt Allen Crabbe, the No. 17 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, and a lottery-protected first round pick in 2020 for SF Taurean Prince and a 2021 second-round pick, SNY sources confirmed.

The deal, which was first reported by ESPN, leaves the Nets with enough cap space to sign one max free agent -- and a clear path to create enough money to sign a second max star. The Nets will have $46 million in cap space and can create enough space to sign two max free agents if they rescind their rights to point guard D'Angelo Russell and make a few other minor moves...

Tags: Allen Crabbe
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Is Kyrie Irving New York-bound? 00:00:50
SNY NBA Insider Ian Begley reports the latest on Kyrie Irving, and talks about the chances of him landing with the Knicks, Nets, or Celtics.

Let's start here with Kyrie Irving, the Knicks and the Nets: free agency is still more than three weeks away.

So there's plenty of time for players -- and teams -- to change their mind about their preferences for this summer.

That applies to Irving as well. His plans/desires today may not be the same as they are on June 30. With that said, in recent days, people around Irving have described the probability of him returning to Boston as a free agent as low. Those around Irving also said recently that he hasn't ruled out teams -- including the Knicks -- as possible destinations for him this summer, per SNY sources.

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Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard drives for the basket against Milwaukee Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon during the fourth quarter in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Fiserv Forum. (Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports)
Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard drives for the basket against Milwaukee Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon during the fourth quarter in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Fiserv Forum. (Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports)

The Nets have been closely connected to pending free agent Kyrie Irving lately, but don't be surprised if they're also in play for Kawhi Leonard.

According to the latest odds released by Odds Shark, the Nets have the third-best chances to land Kawhi.

The odds:

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Apr 20, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) reacts after making a three point shot against the Philadelphia 76ers during the second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Apr 20, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) reacts after making a three point shot against the Philadelphia 76ers during the second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Potential suitors are lining up for D'Angelo Russell.

The Utah Jazz, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Indiana Pacers are among the teams expected to show interest in the restricted free agent this summer, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.

Russell, 23, enjoyed his best season as a pro in 2018-19, averaging a career-best 21.1 points and 7.0 assists per game. The Ohio State product also earned his first All-Star selection of his young career.

Tags: D'Angelo Russell
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November 23, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Turner Sports sportscaster Charles Barkley before The Match: Tiger vs Phil golf match at Shadow Creek Golf Course. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)
November 23, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Turner Sports sportscaster Charles Barkley before The Match: Tiger vs Phil golf match at Shadow Creek Golf Course. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)

If Charles Barkley was a free agent this summer and both the Knicks and Nets were pursuing him, he says he'd choose to sign with the Nets. 

Here's why: "I'd probably take the Nets because I think they're more stable," Barkley said on a conference call to promote the American Century Championship golf tournament. "I think they've got the better supporting cast. I think (Nets GM) Sean Marks has done a fabulous job and Coach (Kenny) Atkinson has done a fabulous job. Nobody thought that team would make the playoffs and they did a fabulous job. They play hard every night. They're just more stable than the Knicks. Obviously, the Knicks are the Knicks. But from a strictly basketball standpoint, the Nets are clearly a more stable organization."


 

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Mar 9, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen (31) reacts after their win against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports (Jason Getz)
Mar 9, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen (31) reacts after their win against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports (Jason Getz)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

For the first time since the Kevin Garnett-Paul Pierce trade, the Brooklyn Nets own their own first-round pick. They have a second first-round pick in 2019 thanks to last summer's trade with the Nuggets and a second-round pick.

Media projections for picks near the Nets' selections (Nos. 17, 27, 31) have been all over map. Draft analysts have said there is more variance after the top 10 in this year's draft than in years past.

So it's impossible to even speculate which players may be available for Brooklyn on June 20. But there is one priority for the Nets on draft night: Per SNY sources, the Nets are targeting a big to complement/ back up starting center Jarrett Allen with one of their pick.

Tags: Jarrett Allen
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