Kyrie Irving free agency rumors: Nets clear cap space, are 'serious contender' to sign star

The Nets appear like they’re in good position to sign Kyrie Irving.

Brooklyn “has emerged as a serious contender” to ink Irving to a deal this summer, according to a report from ESPN. The team is also hoping to be an attractive destination for the “biggest free agents in the marketplace.”

Brooklyn was, at one point, the betting favorites to sign Irving. He was a Nets fan while growing up in New Jersey, according to the New York Post.

The Nets may have improved their chances of landing Irving by acquiring Taurean Prince from the Hawks in exchange for the No. 17 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, a protected first-round selection in 2020 and Allen Crabbe, according to ESPN. Brooklyn will also receive a 2021 second-round pick in the deal.

The Nets created an additional $18 million in cap space in the trade and now have room to sign two max players, the report notes.

Prince, 25, should be a valuable rotation player for the Nets. He averaged 13.5 points and 3.6 rebounds while shooting 39% from 3-point range for Atlanta in 2018-19, his third season in the NBA.

The Nets exceeded expectations last season and reached the playoffs for the first time since 2014-15. They were topped by the 76ers in five games in their first-round series.

Irving averaged 23.8 points and 6.9 assists for Boston this season but his chances of re-signing with the team are reportedly “low.” He has also been linked to the Lakers and Knicks.