The Knicks' plans to court Kyrie Irving may be thwarted by the other team in their city. New reporting by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski links the Celtics free agent with the Brooklyn Nets.
Brooklyn is trading Allen Crabbe and No. 17 pick in 2019 NBA Draft and protected first in 2020 to Atlanta for Taurean Prince and 2021 second-round pick, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 6, 2019
Kyrie Irving is serious about the Nets -- and the Nets are serious about beating the Knicks -- and rest of league -- to the biggest free agents in the marketplace, per league sources.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 6, 2019
If Irving did choose the Nets over his other summer suitors, that would leave a hole in the Knicks' plans to bring in multiple stars with the hope of contending for a title next season.
None of this would concern the Wizards unless the Knicks decided to hunt for an alternative star guard on the trade market, which could lead them to Bradley Beal.
Consider this bit of prescient analysis, from NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig several weeks ago.
New York likely would want to wait for Kevin Durant to sign in free agency as the long-running rumors suggest. Then the question is who gets the second max slot.
Kyrie Irving? Certainly possible. We know the Celtics are out. One source said don't sleep on the Nets getting involved.
Kemba Walker is a New York native. The All-NBA candidate is also someone the Hornets might do whatever it costs to keep.
There's also Beal, who would make a great fit next to a fellow perimeter threat in Durant.
The Knicks' assets include the third pick in 2019, which is a projected tier above the fourth slot since it means landing no less than Duke guard RJ Barrett. New York also has impressive rookie center Mitchell Robinson, point guard Dennis Smith and an unprotected first-round pick from Dallas that projects to convey in 2021.
If the Knicks decline to part with Robinson and three, the Wizards would have to consider Barrett, the top recruit in the 2018 class and Duke's leading scorer, a future All-Star. They might.
Beal—who did not make the All-NBA teams despite averaging 25.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 5.5 assists this season—would make an attractive option for any team seeking a guard who's both a bonafide star and still has room to grow.
But why would Washington even consider moving a home-grown talent like Beal when they're not faced with the spectre of paying him a supermax contract?
If the Wizards believe they are multiple years away from contending for a title, Beal's prime might not be as valuable to them as it would be to a team that's going for broke next season.
And, in turn, a rookie's development might line up better with the timeline of the Wizards' rebuild. Especially if that rookie is a near-certain star like Barrett.
How such a trade would happen is complicated by Washington's front-office vacancy. Interim president Tommy Sheppard has filled in for Ernie Grunfeld since his dismissal and is likely to make decisions for the team on draft night.
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