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NetsDaily Off-Season Report - No. 21

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Only two more Off-Season Reports after this one. Then it will be PRE-Season.

Dinwiddie Rumors

Expect a lot of them now, and if nothing comes to pass now, then there will be more (rumors) in mid-December when all the league’s players, including those signed last summer, can be traded and when the Nets can sign him to an extension worth $47 millon over four years.

The latest rumor coming out of Phoenix is that Dinwiddie is one of three point guards the Suns are talking about INTERNALLY. The others are Patrick Beverley of the Clippers and Cory Joseph of the Pacers. All three are in the final year of their contracts, but all three would require big returns.

There are not rumors (yet) of Phoenix approaching Brooklyn or anyone else. Nor is there any indication who the Suns are prioritizing in these discussions. As we pointed in a tweet...

One piece of trade speculation, by Hoopshype’s Frank Urbina, has Dragan Bender, the disappointing but still very young (20) seven-footer enticing the Nets. Add a pick, he suggested, and bingo. The Suns have a lot of picks over the next few years, but you’d think they’d resist giving up an asset like Bender, taken No. 4 overall only two years ago, AND a pick.

Still, Dinwiddie will almost certainly be a commodity because of skills, his modest contract his youth (25) and his intelligence, exhibited on and off the court. A rare combo.

Earlier this week, Sam Vecenie, the highly respected basketball writer on The Athletic, said on his podcast that we should expect a “robust trade market” for the 6’6” point guard. He even speculated on who could be interested at the deadline...

Spencer Dinwiddie is on a bargain basement contract which literally every team in the league is going to able to trade for at the deadline. Like the Golden State Warriors are going to be able to say, ‘hey, we want a back-up rental point guard. We’re a little worried about how Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston are aging. Spencer Dinwiddie is perfect for our scheme and he’s super, super cheap on a minimum contract so we can actually go get him.”

“I would expect a robust trade market for him. I don’t think this is a playoff team either so they have to have conversations with him and decide whether it’s possible for them to re-sign him. Maybe he’s a very loyal player. Maybe he wants to continue to play for Kenny Atkinson who helped him blow up and become one of the most improved players in the NBA, but if he wants to test the market they realistically probably have to trade him.”

Vecenie also said that if the Nets decide to “stealth tank,” they could trade Dinwiddie, DeMarre Carroll and even Joe Harris to get more picks and more cap space.

All that said, as we know, the Nets could have traded Dinwiddie at the deadline for the Cavaliers’ own first rounder this year (which ultimately became Mo Wagner). They like him a lot as more than one pundit has noted.

What do we expect the Nets to do? Barring unforeseen circumstances, we expect the Nets to see how their backcourt rotation works out in the early weeks and months of the season. They were disappointed last season that Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell did not work out as planned and most of the onus for that fell on Dinwiddie whose game did drop off after DLo returned. And the (relative) success of the Caris LeVert point guard experiment could fit into their calculus as well.

Bottom line, as NBC Sports’ Kurt Helin reported this week...

The Nets like Dinwiddie a lot and have some real decisions to make about the future of their point guard spot this season, primarily how much do they like D’Angelo Russell and how much are they willing to pay him a year from now as a restricted free agent. Even if the Nets decide they want to spend to keep Russell, they love Dinwiddie and it’s hard to imagine them moving him without a lot coming back their way in the trade.

So, at least for the first half of the season, expect a wave of Dinwiddie trade rumors as well as news of what the Nets plan to do with his deal. Might he sign a reasonable contract the way Harris did this summer? We shall see. We always do.

Numbers please ... an Update

We assumed wrongly that since he wore No. 4 in summer league, Theo Pinson would wear that number this season. Wrong, according to the Nets website. It says Pinson will wear No. 10 (which we thought would go to Jordan McLaughlin, another camp invite.)

The website also has both McLaughlin and Rodions Kurucs wearing No. 0. (Is it possible that Kurucs will wear No. 00 and McLaughlin just one zero? Is that even legal.)

I guess we will have to wait for a more definitive post on the Nets site or the first preseason game on October 3.

To recount, here are the numbers for all the new guys, as best we know...

30 - Dzanan Musa

00 - Rodions Kurucs

10 - Theo Pinson

17 - Ed Davis. (Kurucs had taken the number before the Nets signed Davis. Veteran privilege.)

35 - Kenneth Faried

6 - Jared Dudley

13 - Shabazz Napier

21 - Treveon Graham

0 - Jordan McLaughlin

55 - Mitch Creek

Adjust your Nets gear orders accordingly.

And no, we don’t know the identity of the last two training camp invites. Nor do we know if the Nets have signed anyone or whether the Nets will sign two invites. They can sign five, but don’t have to.

Stash Notes

It’s barely an update. As we’ve noted, Aleksandar Vezenko (2017) will play for the Bulgarian national team this week —Thursday and Sunday— in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.

The Nets other two stashes, Juan Pablo Vaulet (2015) and Isaia Cordinier (2016 by the Hawks, traded to Brooklyn) are both recovering from injury. But there’s some news. Vaulet’s coach, Seb Ginobili (Manu’s brother), said this week that expects JPV to be a big part of the Bahia Blanca offense after they lost their two best players to European teams.

And in Antibes on the French Riviera, there’s word that Cordinier, recovering from double knee surgery related to tendinitis, will miss at least the first five games of the French League season, which starts September 22. The Sharks have signed another guard to a short-term contract.

Rod Thorn dishes some history

The Athletic’s Mike Scotto got some history lessons from Rod Thorn this week (as well as an assessment of Sean Marks tenure so far.)

Thorn, of course, talked about the biggest deal he made for the Nets, trading for his fellow Hall of Fame inductee Jason Kidd as well as the other deal that marked the 2001 off-season, sending the Nets’ pick in the Draft, the overall No. 7, to the Rockets for three for the 13th, 18th and 23rd picks. That turned into Eddie Griffin for Richard Jefferson, Jason Collins and Brandon Armstrong.

Houston, Thorn revealed, was willing to do the deal only if Griffin, the 6’9” Seton Hall forward, was available. The Nets, he noted, had interest in other players up top.

“We were going to take somebody else. In fact, Joe Johnson was a guy we had interest in at No. 7 if we stayed there, and he turned out to be pretty good. Eddie was such a long and athletic player that it looked like he would have a good future, and Houston took him.”

Johnson ultimately went at No. 10 to Boston.

Thorn also admits that he made a big mistake in taking Armstrong when they could have taken Gilbert Arenas. He went into the thinking.

“[A]t the 20-something pick that we got from Houston, we ended up taking Armstrong. The other guys were Agent Zero (Gilbert Arenas) and a kid from Southern California that I can’t remember his name (Jeff Trepagnier). Those were the three guys we were looking at with that pick. We said we’d take them in the order that if Armstrong got picked before we picked, we’d take Arenas. If he didn’t we’d take Armstrong. That’s what we ended up doing.”

There were rumors at the time that Jerry West recommended Armstrong to his fellow West Virginian. And Arenas, then only 20, had a mercurial personality as history later showed. Armstrong lasted three years in the NBA, averaging 2.2 points.

Thorn also said Kidd almost left the Nets in 2003 after two failed trips to the Finals. The Spurs were heavily wooing him.

“If you talk to him today, he’d probably tell you if he had to do it over again he would’ve gone, but he ended up coming back with us...

“There were many times I thought he was going to leave. I’m thinking, ‘What the heck are we going to do without him? He’s the catalyst here for our team and makes everybody better.’ Very few players can do that. Jason Kidd could. That was part of the reason that we drafted a point guard (Zoran Planinic) also because we might lose him.”

Thorn also offered his impressions into how Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson are doing so far. In addition to focusing on the moves Marks & Co. have made, he noted a change in attitude.

“I think that Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson have done a very admirable job there. I think they’ve changed the thinking around that organization. It’s much more positive now. They’ve got some good young talent, and they’ve done it even though they haven’t had their own first-round draft picks. They’ve made some good deals and have some good young players.

“I think that either next year or the year after they’re going to be good. I just like the way they’ve gone about it and the attitude they have there in what they’ve tried to do under pretty trying circumstances. I think they’ve done a heck of a job in turning the attitude around, which is a big part of it. They’re getting kids that want to play and play hard. As they add to their talent, they’re going to be better.”

Thorn has to pay attention. He’s working with the Bucks as a consultant telling Scotto, he offers advice if the Milwaukee front office needs “anybody that’s been around for 8,000 years.”

Joe Tsai - Richest Canadian?

Word this week in Canadian publications is that Joe Tsai, the Nets minority owner and prospective principal owner, now tops the list of richest people in Canada at $10.2 billion, as estimated by Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.

Canada?

Yes, Tsai, executive vice chairman of Alibaba, the big global e-commerce company, is a dual citizen of Canada and Taiwan — many rich Taiwanese are citizens of the two countries. In fact, he is often described officially as a Canadian citizen.

It’s all part of his international background. A native of Taiwan, he was educated in the U.S. (Lawrenceville School, Yale), and worked in finance in New York before moving back to Asia when Alibaba was formed in 1999. Alibaba is headquartered in Hangzhou, China, and Tsai has residences in both Hong Kong and LaJolla, outside San Diego.

Tsai ranks 138th in the world, according to Bloomberg. Mikhail Prokhorov ranks 122nd, with $11.2 billion. He was once Russia’s richest man, but now has fallen to 12th.

Faried arrest

Just to keep everyone up to date, Kenneth Faried pleaded not guilty Wednesday to the misdemeanor marijuana possession charge —officially unlawful possession of more than two ounces of marijuana, as Mike Scotto tweeted.

Next thing to watch more is a trial date, which can be postponed and often is if someone is willing to plead to a lesser charge, as Jason Kidd did five years ago when he was arrested for a DUI, all in the Hamptons.

If Faried is found guilty, whether a guilty plea or a trial, the league will make a determination as to any sanctions, including a suspension, for the player. Marijuana arrests, particularly misdemeanors, are tricky for the NBA with the drug either legal, not treated as criminal or not prosecuted in so many of the league cities. And of course, charges could be dropped or Faried could be found not guitly after a trial.

Bottom line, there’s no real schedule or likely outcome, at least as of now.

Final Note

We are going to have to get up to speed on the Nets entry in the NBA2K League ... and the league itself. Tentatively called “Brooklyn Gaming,” the team will join NBA2K next season along with three other franchises, in Minnesota, Atlanta and Los Angeles.

The league will hold an expansion draft September 24 for the four new teams and we are happy to report that the Nets will pick No. 2.

The season begins in May and runs through August. Last year, the Knicks won the championship.

Each team uses their own studio space and we heard the small practice site off the main entrance at Barclays is a candidate.