With Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors defeating the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals, all of the attention shifts to free agency on June 30 now.
As Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are expected to miss most — if not all — of the 2019-20 NBA season, Leonard and Kyrie Irving’s decision could change the landscape.
While Leonard is still celebrating his second championship and Finals MVP award, it appears Irving has an idea.
After recently changing agents for Roc Nation Sports, Irving is reportedly ‘prepared’ to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, according to Steve Bulpett of Boston Herald:
According to a source with ties to Roc Nation, the organization expected to become Irving’s new representative, the All-Star point guard is prepared to sign with the Brooklyn Nets when he becomes a free agent next month. A separate league source told the Herald that his team (not the Celtics) has received the same information and is operating under the belief that Irving wants to join the Nets.
This further confirms a recent report about Irving signing with the Nets, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Irving, a six-time All-Star, will become an unrestricted free agent, and league sources say he remains intensely interested in the Brooklyn Nets. The New York Knicks are expected to remain competitive for Irving, too, sources told ESPN.
Before the 2018-19 season, Irving expressed interest in re-signing with the Boston Celtics. However, there were chemistry issues that ultimately led them to being eliminated in the second round of the 2019 NBA playoffs.
Although Irving was reportedly ‘more open’ about reuniting with LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers, it appears they will have to look elsewhere. At this time, an Anthony Davis trade seems to be their best opportunity.
For the first time in five seasons, the Western Conference race should be wide open without Durant and Thompson. Their injuries will likely impact free agency and as a result, the landscape could completely change as well.
Despite a drama-filled start to the offseason, the Lakers are in a good position to significantly improve the roster around James in Year 2. With the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and a max-contract slot, they have numerous options.