Believe it or not, I sometimes leave NetsDaily with enough stamina to continue talking basketball outside of the interwebs. One such conversation happened a couple days ago with my father, another avid Nets fan who enjoys obsessing over the team almost as much as I do. Basketball conversations between a lawyer and a lawyer's son are more interesting when negotiations are involved, although this one was short-lived as we found ourselves mostly in agreement. I hold the opinion that MarShon Brooks should not be included in the trade, because I don't think he has to be.
Two roads diverged in a season
Thankfully we're all very knowledgeable on the assets in play, the state of previous negotiations, and the other teams in the hunt. First, it would be easier to get one scenario out of the way: where Dwight becomes a FA. If the reports regarding Otis Smith's acceptance of a Nets package which was shot down by Magic ownership are true, then there leaves no doubt that common sense will prevail, and the Magic will not let him walk without compensation.
The realistic scenario is the one that benefits the Magic the most and worth discussing at length: where Dwight is traded after the All-Star game and before the trade deadline. Here, our competition is limited to the Lakers, as having a tangible asset in a young center better ameliorates the pain of trading a franchise player than a simple salary dump (thus, Mavericks are not relevant here). The argument over MarShon's participation in talks is based on a need to trump the Lakers' offer of Bynum and Gasol. Fortunately, this offer hasn't been made, and it's short sighted to think we need to compensate this way. Lopez v. Bynum is arguable, but we gain an edge that's more easily discernible by being able to offer more draft picks and cap relief that they cannot. A top-10 pick, and perhaps a late first round pick in a loaded draft at least matches a Gasol-Bynum offer, because you have your "Two Players" in Lopez and the draft pick.
Well, now add the ability to take back Duhon and Turkoglu.
Then, add the Third Player from a three team deal (Gerald Wallace, at the time).
In practical terms
MarShon Brooks hasn't even been mentioned, and that's my point. When trade negotiations are resumed, I'd expect that to be a short conversation, and something to the effect of:
Otis: I know have the support of my ownership to complete a trade of Dwight, let's resume talks.
Billy: Great. I'll call up Portland to see if they're still in...
Otis: Well, we're now going to want MarShon
Billy: Excuse me? We've already had an agreement for a package. Why should we change our position?
And why should they? That was good enough in December, and the only thing that has changed is that the Magic are more desperate to trade Dwight before they lose him for nothing. Sure, there is an element of liar's poker: Magic will say that the Lakers are offering Gasol + Bynum and we need to include MarShon to get it done. Thankfully this is not completely analogous to poker, because we can see all the cards on the table. We know we can offer more flexibility in our cap relief. We know we can offer more draft picks. We know we can offer more young talent in Brook and our top-5 pick (I figure top 10 after we get Dwight). We also know that out of all the NBA teams, Dwight wants to play with us, first and foremost. We can call this bluff, because we know they do want our offer. It would have been done weeks ago with the ownership greenlight.
Defy the socialization of being a Nets fan
I get it; we've been conditioned to presume the worst, that Murph-Yi's law runs the team more than any coach or GM. I've seen a lot of comments that reflect this, and I think it's natural, but based more so on a history of decisions made by a different management group with poorer assets, and it's a non sequitor when applied to our current situation. If Dwight gets to FA then why shouldn't we get him? He wants to play for our team the most. In that scenario we obviously keep our budding star, and as great as a Dallas DDD Trio would be (for a couple more years), we could have our starting 5 set for the next decade, with Dwight being the oldest. Calling the owners even, we have the market advantage, and could have a line-up of Deron, MarShon, Barnes, Dwight, Brook. While Dwight would apparently be content with playing for the Lakers' long-term (possibly? currently?), we're still his first choice. Despite the Dwightmare debate that has raged on, none of it is based on what conditions would cause Dwight to think less of the Nets and prefer the Lakers to us. Yes, we're very bad right now! Thankfully it is as salient as to how good we will be in the future.
Billy King has demonstrated excellent restraint and judgment so far. He chose to play a 2011-2012 season without adding significant upgrades to this team to play his cards as best he can. I see no reason why he wouldn't continue to get the very best deal that's out there, and call a bluff when need be. So as far as MarShon is involved, I would argue that he isn't, shouldn't, and won't.