How large of a threat do the Brooklyn Nets pose to the LA Clippers?

LA Clippers Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LA Clippers Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

After clearing more than $18 million in cap space, the Brooklyn Nets will have room for two max players this summer. Are they a threat to the LA Clippers?

On Thursday afternoon, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Brooklyn Nets were trading Allen Crabbe, among other pieces, to the Atlanta Hawks. The deal was done in order for Brooklyn to create extra cap space this summer, as they’re set on pursuing some of the league’s top free agents. The only question, then, is this: How much of an impact does Brooklyn’s trade have on the LA Clippers, if at all?

By dealing Crabbe to the Hawks, the Nets will add $18.5 million to their cap room this summer, giving the team $46 million to work with. That’s enough for two max-level slots, cementing the Nets as one of the expected top players in free agency.

Brooklyn could use some of that money to re-sign restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell, who was a first-time All-Star with the Nets this season. However, the franchise may have other plans.

According to Wojnarowski, Kyrie Irving is “very serious” about joining the Brooklyn Nets, and that one of the plans the franchise has in mind involves pairing him up with Kevin Durant.

It’s hard to say for sure, but the LA Clippers likely have some interest in signing Irving, and we know that the same is probably true of Durant. Because of that, the Nets could be seen as a threat to the Clippers’ free agent chances.

Because they’re another team with money, a new road has essentially been opened for free agents to take. The likelihood of Durant signing in Brooklyn doesn’t appear to be too high at the moment, but other players like Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler certainly seem like more plausible options if the Nets are serious about adding two stars this summer, or at least one in addition to Russell.

Luckily, there doesn’t seem to be any information linking Kawhi Leonard to Brooklyn, and since he’s expected to be LA’s top target this summer, that’s one less team for Clippers fans to have to worry about.

As it stands, the biggest threat to sign Leonard is the Toronto Raptors. After that, though, the LA Clippers are right there in line. Leonard should receive a lot of attention from other franchises once free agency kicks off, but there isn’t much connecting him to teams other than Toronto and LA.

Because Brooklyn doesn’t seem interested in signing Leonard, it seems safe to say that the Nets don’t pose too large of a threat to the Clippers, unless Durant ends up being LA’s top free agent target. And since that’s unlikely, the Nets will likely go about their own business without getting too much in the Clippers’ way.

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That being said, the LA Clippers will need to be cautious in free agency. If opposing franchises “move in silence” like they do, any one of their free agent targets — especially those that aren’t max-level players — could be swept up without much warning.