NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A basketball bidding war may be about to break out in the Big Apple this summer.
The Nets have agreed to trade guard Allen Crabbe, the first step in their aggressive plan to build a super team in Brooklyn when free agency begins in July.
The Nets will deal him along with two first-round picks to the Atlanta Hawks in a deal that will clear significant salary cap space; putting them in position to afford signing two top free agents.
Brooklyn will get forward Taurean Prince and a 2021 second-round pick in the deal, a person with knowledge of the details told The Associated Press on Thursday. The reported trade cannot become official until July 6.
The Nets were already in position to be able to afford one max player this summer. By moving Crabbe, the team now has moved another $18.5 million off the books for 2019-20.
Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Kyrie Irving are among the headline names in the class, and the Nets also have to decide if they want to re-sign point guard D’Angelo Russell, who will be a restricted free agent after being an All-Star for the first time.
The reported deal Thursday evening also puts Brooklyn’s hometown rival on notice – the New York Knicks – on notice that they’re not the only Big Apple franchise looking to build a super team in the Eastern Conference.
New York has already seen part of their master plan deflated when they lose the draft lottery, falling to the third overall pick. NBA analysts had been speculating that the Knicks wanted to sign Durant and draft Duke’s Zion Williamson – who is projected to be drafted first overall.
Now Brooklyn may be looking to throw another wrench in the Knicks’ plan: stealing Durant and possibly another big name star as well.
Prince, a first-round pick in 2016, averaged 13.5 points last season. He is set to make $3.5 million next season.
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(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)