The Knicks aren't the only team in town with designs on a big offseason. As Brooklyn GM Sean Marks said last month, the Nets will be "aggressive" this summer to improve the roster after their rebuild took a big step forward in 2018-19 by making the playoffs. And sources told SNY contributor Anthony Puccio that marquee free agents like Kevin Durant will at least consider the Nets as a possible new home.
But as noted by The Athletic's Michael Scotto, a wrench could be thrown into the Nets' plans if a team in need of a point guard signs restricted free agent D'Angelo Russell to an offer sheet early in free agency.
Brooklyn would have two days to match if another team signs Russell to an offer sheet, and there could be teams willing to splash cash for Russell, who had a breakout season and became an All-Star for the first time as the driving force behind the Nets' resurgence.
The Pacers are one of those teams, Scotto reports. Aaron Holiday, their 2018 first-round pick, is Indiana's only healthy point guard under contract for next season. Victor Oladipo is recovering from a ruptered quad tendon suffered in January, so Russell could be a good fit with a Pacers team which finished 48-34 but got swept by Boston in the first round.
If Russell is offered big money by another team he might be inclined to sign the sheet, and doing so from the outset of free agency would be problematic for Brooklyn if the franchise isn't sure at that point where it stands with the likes of Durant, Kyrie Irving and other top free agents. Ideally, the Nets would convince Russell to take somewhat of a discount and leave them with enough space to add a max free agent.
Scotto reports that unless the Nets are able to sign at least one of the top free agents, Russell probably will return to the Nets.