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Quiet trade deadline shows importance of continuity in building a culture

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

It was an anticlimactic trade deadline for the Brooklyn Nets, and that might be the best thing for them.

The Nets acquired Dante Cunningham from New Orleans in exchange for Rashad Vaughn, who was acquired in the Tyler Zeller trade on Monday.

This is Sean Marks’ third trade deadline with the Nets, although his first one carries an asterisk because that was the day he was hired. Still, Marks has struck when we’ve least expected it as he’s made just three trades on deadline days, one that was major and two that were very minor.

Compare that to six major trades he’s made away from the trade deadline when we’ve least expected it.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It shows they aren’t impulsive and he said that from the beginning. The Nets were not going to force a trade for the sake of a trade, nor were they going to acquire a veteran. It isn’t about right now and we know that.

The surprising part is that DeMarre Carroll, Joe Harris and/or Spencer Dinwiddie were not moved this deadline.

Carroll sounded like he would be on his way out. GM’s all around the league wanted a 3-and-D guy like Carroll, particularly those in playoff contention. One source close to Carroll told NetsDaily that he believed a trade would happen by 3 p.m., but it never went through.

Brooklyn received calls from all around the league, notably Miami, Indiana and even Denver who was looking to unload Kenneth Faried, according to reports.

However, the Nets made it clear from the start that Carroll would not be an easy sell. He’s having the best season of his career and he’s become one of the crucial veteran pieces in the locker room during Brooklyn’s rebuild. He’s set the tone for this culture and gives a players perspective to help Kenny Atkinson, The two go back to the 2014-15 season in Atlanta when Atkinson was a development coach.

Howard Beck had a telling statement in the AM on Thursday.

Still, don’t be surprised to hear Carroll’s name around Draft day.

The other surprise was Harris. Currently having his best season as well, Harris is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. Most assumed he would be dealt for a second-round pick, but it never happened. He, too, is a culture-oriented guy who has voiced his satisfaction with the Brooklyn Nets and Atkinson and the coaching staff.

While Harris is likely to command a decent paycheck this off-season, some believe he would take a discount to stay with the Nets. We’ll see.

The final “surprise” was Dinwiddie, who, quite frankly, never felt like was going to be shipped off. The Nets value him and everything he stands for. His BBIQ is off the charts, he fits the script as a lanky combo guard, and he’s only 24-years-old. Moreover, he will be on a partially guaranteed vets minimum deal again next season.

It would have taken a first-round pick and/or young asset for somebody to lure him in.

As they say, sometimes the best moves are the ones you don’t make. This may hold true for the Brooklyn Nets, who kept three likable, culture-oriented guys at least for the rest of the season.

The word culture is brought up so much because these Dinwiddie and Harris have been here almost since day one. Carroll was brought in later, but he fits right in and continues to help it evolve. Harris was one of Atkinson’s first developmental pieces and look at what he’s become. The same goes for Dinwiddie.

They exemplify what the Brooklyn Nets want to be about - not only on the court but how that present themselves off the court as well. They’re all high character individuals who understand that hard work DOES pay off. They just hope it pays off while they’re together.

From a player and agent’s perspective, specifically Joe Harris, it shows that the Nets don’t just see him as an ‘asset’. They see him as one of them; a brother or family member as they so often use around Brooklyn. These guys are human and relationships are built. Trust is hard to come by. So is loyalty.

The business aspect of things is understood on all ends, but that’s so much easier said than done. When you build a culture, you need continuity. You need to work harder than the rest. And most importantly, you need trust among one another.

That’s how the chemistry forms and a team grows in Brooklyn. Maybe not today and definitely not tomorrow. But with all these things in mind - essentially standing PAT - the Nets once again proved that they aren’t going to rush the process or panic to acquire unproven assets.

And oh yeah, the Nets have a first and second round pick in every draft going forward. That’s the first time we’ve been able to say that since 2010.