The Nets stole the Knicks' thunder during the offseason, inking Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, and they just extended Caris LeVert.
But while they're in much better position right now than the Knicks, all of their recent signings have put them at a disadvantage when it comes to their ability to continue to swipe top free agents out from under New York.
The LeVert extension leaves the Nets with Durant, Irving, DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Dinwiddie and LeVert all under contract through the 2020-21 season, SNY's Ian Begley recently pointed out, adding that it's a strong group to build around but also leaves them with little financial flexibility. So the Knicks won't have to worry about competing with the Nets for top free agents for the next few summers.
The Knicks have less than $50 million in expected salary committed to five players for 2020-21, Begley noted. So the Knicks could have significant cap space in the 2020 offseason if they decline team options on the free-agents signed this summer.
Depending on how the Knicks spend their money during the summer of 2020, they could also have a sizeable amount of cap space heading into the summer of 2021.
The 2019-20 free agent class could include Anthony Davis if he doesn't sign an extension with the Lakers, and could also include restricted free agents Brandon Ingram and Jaylen Brown.
The potential 2020-21 free agent class is much more intriguing, and could include Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, and LeBron James -- though James will be 36 years old by that point.
No matter how the Knicks build -- and Steve Mills and Scott Perry have continued to preach patience after the club missed out on their top targets this summer -- it seems likely they won't have to worry about the Nets continuing to get in their way over the next few summers.
And by the time the next free agent class hits the market, the Knicks -- with a young core featuring Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett, and Kevin Knox -- might be more appealing to players than they were a few months ago.