We all know that Sean Marks can be ruthless in his pursuit of talent. He did, after all, trade two very popular Nets in his first two summers as Nets GM, Thaddeus Young and then Brook Lopez, for a draft pick and a young player who had a top 2 pick in 2015.
And if you don’t meet the team’s character bar, don’t expect to be around for very long. Ask Willie Reed.
But what about Spencer Dinwiddie, who many think has the best contract in the NBA, terms of production vs. salary? Sam Vecenie of The Athletic and Dieter Kurtenbach of the San Jose Mercury-News addressed the possibility in a podcast about “fake trades” over the weekend. Their discussion of the Nets starts at 1:23:50.
For them, dealing the 24-year-old with two years at the vets minimum left would be smart, even suggesting a couple of places where he could find up and an asking price — a first round pick, maybe more.
Here’s the transcript of their discussion about Dinwiddie, who’s fast becoming a fan favorite as well as a solid NBA player. It’s a big long but it reveals just how pundits hold Dinwiddie and his contract in high regard.
SV: My favorite trade asset on the market right now is Spencer Dinwiddie.
DK: Spencer Dinwiddie is good, man!
SV: Spencer Dinwiddie is legitimately good!
DK: I watched him yesterday. He's GOOD! For a guy who's that size, is that good at putting the ball on the floor as point guard ... He doesn't look like he's a point guard but he is. He has all the characteristics you need in a point guard. I'm not sure if I'm Brooklyn, I'd want to give him up. I think he's part of whatever core they want to build, but ...
SV: I'll explain why not. Spencer Dinwiddie is averaging 11.7 points, 5.7 assists, 3.0 rebounds per game, 42 percent from 3 this season. Not finishing all the well inside, Not a very explosive player. He's always going to struggle doing that. That's fine, no big deal
DK: Lot of players like that.
SV: So the next two years, he's at $1.5 million and $1.6 million. He's an unrestricted free agent in there, free to go wherever he wants. He's in his fourth year already, surprisingly. He was a second round pick. There's nothing tying him to Brooklyn. And you think about who Brooklyn has right now. Brooklyn has Jeremy Lin and D'Angelo Russell out. They have Caris LeVert who can handle the ball a little at his size. They have Rondae Hollis-Jefferson who is capable of handling the ball at his size. They have a lot of these guys. They have Isaiah Whitehead who I don't think gives them anything but is a person on their roster. Sean Kilpatrick can handle the ball at little bit at his size. Dinwiddie is better than those last few guys. But I kind of think that a team that is forward thinking could give up a first round pick to have Spencer Dinwiddie for the next two years.
DK: Yeah. He's an incredibly valuable asset when you consider how little he costs and with so many teams looking to upgrade without having to give anything up, anything serious, any current asset. That's hyper valuable for teams that are contending. Which team stands out to you. Which team do you say, this team really needs a back-up point guard or a guy who can play combo and isn't in a position to give up anything to get one?
SV: Minnesota makes a good amount of sense to me. Again, they're in kind of a funky spot with their draft picks, but I might be willing to give up a late first rounder if you're Minnesota and you're going to be in the 20 to 30 range, I might be willing to give up a first rounder for a guy who I think can legitimately help me right now off the bench and take some minutes from Jeff Teague and I can play late in games and is a very switchable player next to Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins and whatever, Taj Gibson and Karl-Anthony Towns. Legitimate switch, 1 through 5 in that scenario and feel relatively good defensively.
SV: I like that a lot. I'd really consider doing that. You got like two years at like NO money whatsoever. He's getting paid peanuts. And that makes a lot of sense to me.
DK: Makes a lot of sense to me too.
SV: Maybe you do Tyus Jones and like something else.
DK: I think that Brooklyn even though they are about to come out of the hole they need to get draft picks. They need to accumulate as much talent as possible. So if someone can give up a first. It's not like Spencer Dinwiddie is going to help them make the playoffs this year or next year or the year after that. If you can get a first round pick out of him, that's found money. they would be remiss to not do it. Even though I do think that Spencer Dinwiddie is a good guy to have on your team for things like culture. He's a good hard-nosed player. I wouldn't be opposed to the Nets keeping him. At the same time, sell high if you get the chance.
SV: Orlando makes sense.
DK: Orlando makes sense, but I don't think it makes as much sense as Portland.
SV: Portland makes a lot of sense. That's a great one. Portland makes a ton of sense.
DK: Need a back-up point guard, a guy who can can play off Lillard, a team that doesn’t give a shit about their draft picks.
SV: You can play him with both C.J. and Dame. That makes the most sense of anything.
There ya go.
Here are some details as you mull what Vecenie and Kurtenbach said: The Timberwolves first round pick goes to Atlanta, lottery protected. The Wolves do have OKC’s pick, lottery protected as well. So right now Minny has no first round pick. Currently, the Blazers pick would be No. 22. (The Raptors pick, which the Nets control as long as it isn’t in the lottery, would be No. 24 at this point.)
The question is whether the Nets want to cash in on their investment, the value they have created by developing Dinwiddie? The Nets do NOT have to make a decision on the him at the deadline this season. Since he’s under contract through next year, as Vecenie and Kurtenbach note, the Nets can wait until the June draft, next summer or even the 2019 trade deadline. Such a deal.
Other players could also be tempting targets, particularly for contenders. Joe Harris is certainly worth more than his expiring $1.5 million contract. Should the Nets try to get value for him at the deadline? They will have his early Bird Rights, which would transfer.
Or they could just keep both of them. Fans wouldn’t object. But again, the Nets could use some picks and Marks knows that.