You’ve probably heard it mentioned before regarding the upcoming madness of NBA free agency 2019: it’s going to be like dominoes. Once the big players in free agency start moving, the rest of the NBA will follow suit and be impacted like a line of dominoes. We’re less than a month away from the July moratorium, and dominoes are already dropping. Over the past 48 hours, two certain events have occurred that are pretty significant factors in some of the biggest free agent names of this upcoming summer.
Kevin Durant’s injury
It was confirmed yesterday through an Instagram post from Durant himself, that he had indeed ruptured his Achilles tendon and had surgery performed to repair it yesterday afternoon. Before this injury, Durant was the posterboy of 2019 free agents. He was rumored to potential moves to New York, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, you name it. After this brutal injury, things are different. It was confirmed by ESPN’s Woj that several teams have still confirmed interest in signing KD to a max long-term deal, despite him most likely missing all of next season. There’s still some doubt as to whether or not Durant might exercise the player option on his contract with the Golden State Warriors, to ensure getting paid max dollars for at least another season. This might impact more of free agency that we know, it’s just hard to tell. With this year’s pool of free agency containing several really good players, it might not be worth it for some to chase a recovering Kevin Durant when they can sign a Jimmy Butler or Tobias Harris.
Kyrie Irving switching his agent
In a considerable Woj bomb that dropped yesterday, it was reported that Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving had parted ways with his current representing agent, and signed a deal with ROC Nation Sports.
Boston's Kyrie Irving is expected to partner with ROC Nation Sports for representation, league sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/2ZQnKvDaLV— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 13, 2019
So what’s the big deal? He’s just switching agents right? Na, Here’s the big deal:
Kyrie to Roc Nation?— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 13, 2019
ROC Nation = Jay-Z
Jay-Z = Brooklyn Nets
Kyrie = Brooklyn Nets?
Kyrie to Brooklyn.— Christopher Lavinio (@ChrisLavinio) June 13, 2019
Brooklyn Nets CEO Brett Yoarmark’s twin brother, Michael, is ROC Nation’s President.
In what was already strong rumors of mutual interest between Kyrie and Brooklyn, this about mails it in. According to several reliable sources and personalities in the NBA world, Kyrie to Brooklyn is probably happening.
I think we can all but pencil Kyrie to Brooklyn— Tony Jones (@Tjonesonthenba) June 13, 2019
Anthony Davis trade sweepstakes
The Anthony Davis trade fiasco keeps elevating. It seemed like some traction was made toward an actual deal yesterday afternoon, mostly dealing with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics.
To be clear, of course: The Celtics and Lakers are trying to negotiate independent deals with New Orleans for Anthony Davis. There's no spirit of cooperation here. The Lakers No. 4 pick would be used to acquire Davis in a multi-team deal that does NOT include Boston. https://t.co/C9NwYJiObX— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 12, 2019
Draft picks. All-Stars. Multiple teams. This Anthony Davis trade is going to do work on the NBA when it finally materializes and gets done.
How does this affect the Utah Jazz?
So, how do these two happenings from the past couple days impact the free agency of the Utah Jazz? One of the stronger ties to free agency this summer for the Jazz is through the Brooklyn Nets, for a couple reasons. D’Angelo Russel and the Jazz have come up in several talks of potential suitors in free agency. Donovan Mitchell is good friends with Russell, and the two have openly trained and hung out with each other several times over the past two seasons. Russell will be hoping for a hefty contract this summer, and the Jazz have the cap space to make the offer. The tricky part here that ties into Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving’s events lately, is that Russel is a restricted free agent. Brooklyn can match any offer that Russell receives if they choose to do so, and have appropriate cap room for as well. If Brooklyn signs Kyrie Irving, that’s going to take up a huge chunk of their cap and make it less likely that they match offers for D’Angelo Russell. Also keep in mind that Brooklyn has been linked several times of having mutual interest with Tobias Harris, another player also linked to the Jazz for potential landing spots this summer. If you are a Jazz fan and want D’Angelo Russell sporting a Jazz jersey next season, you are absolutely rooting for Kyrie and another big star to go to Brooklyn. If the Nets are unable to land another free agent outside of Kyrie, they might want to retain Russell and pair him with Irving in the backcourt.
Kevin Durant’s injury just opened a whole can of “what ifs” for just about every team this summer. Durant was also linked to the Nets, who due to many of the reasons above, might impact the Jazz and their ability to go after D’Angelo Russel or Tobias Harris. But it also might impact the Jazz in other ways. KD is the biggest player in free agency this summer, and the first domino might just determine where the rest of them fall.
The Anthony Davis trade might get crazy and impact the Jazz in some form or another. Any time you start hearing about multiple teams being involved in trades, it might just be yours that ends up receiving a player or draft pick. The Jazz have been rumored several times to still being interested in trading for Mike Conley. There’s also been some buzz lately regarding Kevin Love, though most of that is fan-initiated. This Anthony Davis trade might be so big that it has ripples across the summer, much like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
As each day passes, we get closer and closer to free agency. Take a deep breath, stay informed and up to date, and of course never forget that Donovan Mitchell will be playing for the Jazz for the next few years no matter what.