Nets Make Telling First Roster Move After Trading Kyrie Irving to Mavs

Kessler Edwards, Brooklyn Nets

Getty Kessler Edwards #14 of the Sacramento Kings.

The Brooklyn Nets have made a roster move, shipping out second-year wing Kessler Edwards to the Sacramento Kings along with cash considerations in exchange for $8 million in cap and luxury tax space and an open roster spot. Shams Charania of The Athletic first reported that the two sides were working on a deal while ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski fleshed out the details.

Edwards, 22, was drafted 44th overall in 2021. He had to approve the deal thanks to the one-year Bird Rights restriction in his contract, per Wojnarowski. After playing a vital role for a depleted Nets team last year, his role had been reduced to virtually nothing this year.

He is averaging just 1.1 points and 1.0 rebounds while seeing fewer than six minutes per game and logging more DNPs (39) than appearances including Brooklyn’s last 25 outings in a row.

A 6-foot-8 forward, he averaged 5.9 points and 3.6 board in 20 minutes per game as a rookie.

He signed a two-year, $3.5 million contract this past offseason giving the Kings control for the next two years and a $1.9 million team option while, according to Wojnarowski, the Kings’ plan is to send the still-raw youngster to their G League affiliate in Stockton.

Brooklyn Pockets Savings

Brooklyn’s tax bill was reduced by $7 million while they also created a $1.6 million trade exception that can be used in a subsequent deal, per Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype.

Gozlan goes on to say that, by waving his veto power to accommodate this trade, Edwards will have more freedom when he hits free agency in 2025 assuming the Kings pick up his option after the 2024 season.

While this move reduces the Nets’ overhead, anyone hoping that this is the precursor to something (else) major might be disappointed.

“Could we see secondary moves from…them,” pondered Charania’s colleague at The Athletic, John Hollinger, before the Edwards trade went down. “The Nets seem less likely, with few draft picks or expiring contracts to put in a salary-dump trade. Sending out Kessler Edwards and cash would save a few million, but I have a hard time seeing anything more grand.”

Nets Rumored Grand Plans

The Nets have been active in looking for follow-up deals even before officially sending Irving to Dallas, per Ian Begley of SportsNet New York.

“One thing worth noting here: the Nets, in their conversations on Kyrie Irving, members of the organization have also touched base with Toronto about a subsequent deal,” Begley said. “So, maybe that’s something that could be in play here as the trade deadline approaches.”

Marc Stein of The Stein Line reports that the Nets may still move Spencer Dinwiddie in another deal for Raptors guard Fred VanVleet while they are also interested in forward Pascal Siakam.

One rumor even has the Nets exploring the possibility of sending Ben Simmons out in a package for OG Anunoby highlighting just how up in the air their future is in the wake of Irving’s upheaval and the uncertainty that remains around Durant’s future.

“My thing, I won’t complicate it,” head coach Jacque Vaughn said via YES Network’s Twitter account. “Like I said, I’m going to coach the group in front of me – the group that’s in the locker room. That won’t change. I’m not going to speculate and get in Kevin’s mind at all. Not going to even try to do that. I’m going to coach this group, look forward to coaching them, and look forward to winning.”

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