Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

The Brooklyn Nets need to aggressively pursue Kyrie Irving in free agency and Anthony Davis via trade with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Danny Small

What’s next for the Brooklyn Nets? The 2018-19 season was a major step in the right direction for the franchise. However, a first-round exit in the playoffs can’t be the end goal for his team. In order to go deeper into the playoffs, they’ll have to make some changes during the summer. Perhaps Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis can be the answer in Brooklyn.

Irving’s path to the Nets is more easily defined than that of Davis. The star point guard is a free agent and although he once proclaimed he was staying with the Boston Celtics, his future looks more uncertain after Boston’s disappointing season. The Nets have the money to sign Irving to a max deal this summer.

Davis, on the other hand, can only come to the Nets via trade. The disgruntled big man requested a trade midseason and has been the subject of trade talks ever since. Despite the New Orleans Pelicans unexpectedly winning the Zion Williamson sweepstakes, Davis still wants out of The Big Easy. Brooklyn has the assets to make a compelling offer for the six-time All-Star.

Acquiring Irving and Davis would catapult the Nets from spunky overachievers to championship contenders overnight. It won’t be easy to pair these two young stars together, but it’s a scenario that Brooklyn should consider.

Signing Kyrie Irving

The Nets are gearing up to add at least one superstar in free agency this summer. Whether or not they can convince a max level star to sign is still up in the air.

However, there have already been some rumblings about Irving’s interest in Brooklyn. According to a report from Anthony Puccio of SNY, Irving is considering Brooklyn if he decides to leave the Boston Celtics.

“Sources tell SNY that Kyrie Irving and his camp are strongly considering Brooklyn if he decides to leave Boston,” Puccio wrote. “Irving’s camp has kept a close eye on the Nets as the season progressed and the team got better, with the playoffs only helping their case.”

Puccio also notes that the Nets may be open to pairing D’Angelo Russell and Irving in the backcourt together. Russell and Irving play very similar styles and it doesn’t appear to be an ideal fit. While the potential fit between Russell and Irving is concerning, making Russell Brooklyn’s No. 1 option is a bigger concern.

There’s no denying Irving’s talent and track record. He was instrumental in bringing a championship to Cleveland as the Robin to LeBron James’ Batman. Just one year later, he requested a trade that resulted in a blockbuster deal between the Cavaliers and Celtics. He wanted to prove that he could win as the leading man on a championship squad.

In two seasons with the Celtics, Irving was not successful. Injuries, locker room drama, and Giannis Antetokounmpo doomed Boston during Irving’s two seasons in kelly green. It’s hard to imagine Irving taking Brooklyn to the NBA Finals if he is the only major addition this summer.

That’s where Davis enters the picture.

Brooklyn Nets

Trading For Anthony Davis

This is where things start to get interesting for Brooklyn. When he’s actually on the floor, Davis is a top-five talent in the league. He can do it all on either end of the floor. Simply put he’s the type of generational talent that can help take the Nets to the next level.

Of course, Davis won’t come cheap and the Pelicans will find other suitors. The crosstown rival New York Knicks have a slew of assets in the form of young players and draft picks. The Celtics will also try to pair Davis with Irving. Whether or not the Pelicans engage with the Los Angeles Lakers remains to be seen. The Los Angeles Clippers, much like the Nets, could be a darkhorse candidate to swoop in and snag Davis.

However, the Nets have a specific leg up on the competition. Formerly the assistant general manager for Brooklyn, Trajan Langdon was recently hired to be the GM of the Pelicans. Perhaps that connection will help facilitate a deal between the Pels and Nets.

Any potential trade for Anthony Davis will start with D’Angelo Russell. The restricted free agent is coming off his first All-Star season. Although he stumbled in the playoffs, his value is high and the Nets could figure out a way to send him to New Orleans via sign-and-trade.

It’s still unclear what a trade for Davis would take, but the Nets would likely have to throw in multiple first-round draft picks and some young players. Davis won’t come cheap, but if the Nets know they can pair him with Irving, they can afford to push their chips to the middle of the table.

The Nets were an exciting team in 2018-19, but they can’t run it back with the squad they had. If Brooklyn wants to take the next step towards winning a title, acquiring Irving and Davis is a great place to start.

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