With less than one month until the start of free agency, the NBA’s rumor mill is really beginning to heat up.

The Brooklyn Nets have been rumored suitors for Kyrie Irving this summer, but that became more evident on Thursday afternoon following a trade with the Atlanta Hawks.

Brooklyn traded Allen Crabbe, the No. 17 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, and a 2020 first-round pick to the Hawks in exchange for Taurean Prince and a 2021 second-round pick, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. This move clears $18 million in extra salary cap space for Brooklyn, opening the door for them to now create two max slots.

A front office doesn’t ship off two first-round picks without the confidence that they’ll be able to put their newly acquired cap space to good use.

Wojnarowski then reported that Irving is serious about the Nets as a possible landing spot this summer. The Nets, as indicated by Thursday’s trade, are clearly serious themselves, which ESPN confirmed.

July is set to be a busy month, to put it lightly, but it now appears we may have a potential front-runner in the Irving sweepstakes.

Irving is one of the more private players around the league, so time will truly tell what he ultimately decides, but Thursday’s report definitely won’t make the Celtics feel comfortable.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images