Brooklyn will also send the 17th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and a 2020 lottery-protected pick. Atlanta will send Taurean Prince, and a 2021 second rounder to Brooklyn.
The main news from the deal is Brooklyn opening up two max contract slots. Wojnarowski added that Kyrie Irving and the Nets have ‘strong mutual interest’.
Like their city rival Knicks, Brooklyn will be targeting Irving and Golden State Warriors small forward Kevin Durant this offseason. While this trade represents a risk – much like the Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis deal – it makes the Nets major players this summer and allows them to retain restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell on a max contract as well as adding a superstar like Irving or Durant. It is, of course, possible they let Russell go and sign two max free agents.
For the Hawks, this has to be seen as a great deal. Prince was unlikely to be there long-term, his poor defence and so-so passing making him surplus to requirements. He’s a solid shooter from the perimeter, and will play a role for Brooklyn, but it’s not a major piece for them to lose.
Atlanta now have three picks in the top 20 of this draft, giving Travis Schlenk a range of options. Do not be surprised to see the Hawks trading again, either acquiring players or to swap this year’s picks for future selections. This isn’t considered a strong draft, and they could see it as a waste to make three top 20 picks.
As the Hawks look to end a rebuild with star pairing John Collins and Trae Young, this is a step in the right direction, helping them to load up further assets. Schlenk could use the picks to acquire complementary pieces or move up in this year’s draft. Flexibility is the key for Atlanta, albeit in a different kind of flexibility to Brooklyn.
The Nets have given themselves options, and this trade throws them into the middle of the free agency sweepstakes. The financial manoeuvrability gives them different paths to consider and will make for a fascinating few weeks in New York.