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Nets ‘shopping’ Spencer Dinwiddie? Are Pistons interested?

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Golden State Warriors v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

The NBA trade deadline is a month away —3:00 p.m. ET on March 25, to be exact— and so trade rumors have begun to fly. And in the last couple of days, both Marc J. Spears and Bobby Marks of ESPN have discussed the possibility that Spencer Dinwiddie could be moved before the deadline. Then, on Saturday, Ian Begley of SNY identified the Pistons, who drafted Dinwiddie seven years ago, as a team that has interest in the 6’6” guard

“The Nets are shopping Spencer Dinwiddie,” Spears said on ESPN’s “The Jump” on Thursday. “Despite his injury, he could be a valuable piece for a team in the future.”

Also on Thursday, Marks echoed what Spears said about the possibility of a trade involving the Nets point guard, noting that while he’s injured —and probably out for the rest of the season — other teams could find him attractive... either before the deadline or in a sign-and-trade afterwards.

With regard to Dinwiddie, despite being in the last year of his contract (he has a player option in 2021-22) and out for the season, the guard has value because the acquiring team would retain his Bird rights, allowing it to exceed the cap to re-sign him as a free agent.

With 73% of the teams projected not to have cap space this summer, Brooklyn could also hold on to him past the trade deadline and explore sign-and-trade options in the offseason.

Begley’s report said simply, “The Detroit Pistons are among the teams who have had interest in acquiring Spencer Dinwiddie from the Nets, per SNY sources.”

The Pistons, however, don’t seem to have what the Nets reportedly are looking for at the deadline, a big man. Blake Griffin, who was recently sent home by the Pistons, worked out with the Nets “Big Three” in L.A. this summer, but he is earning $36.8 million this year and has a player option worth nearly $39 million next season that he’s very likely to pick up. Detroit also has former Net Mason Plumlee under contract at more then $8 million a year through at least next season. They do have first round picks going forward ... after this year.

Specifically, Dinwiddie is making $11.5 million this season with a $12,3 player option exercisable at the end of July. A team acquiring him could pay him considerably more, with some suggesting he could be in line for a four-year, $85 million contract, roughly the same as Malcom Brogdon and Fred Van Vleet received over the last year.

The Nets could also extend him, but the max he could get would $61.6 million over the next four starting with next season but the team is looking at some short-term (extending Bruce Brown) and more importantly long-term (extending the Big Three) decisions.

Who could Dinwiddie bring back in return? The most rumored names are Andre Drummond and John Collins. But unless the Nets got into a very complicated multi-team deal, they would have to send $22.9 million in contracts to the Cavaliers. That’s a big order. As for Collins, he’s still on his rookie deal but what else might the Hawks want in return? Both of their young bigs, Nic Claxton and Reggie Perry, have Georgia roots. And what would Sean Marks be willing to give up.

Bobby Marks also notes in his trade deadline primer that the Nets most intriguing asset might be the Dinwiddie DPE which would be extinguished if he were traded. The Nets would retain it even if he returns to play this year.

Brooklyn has a $5.7 million disabled player exception (created with the injury to Dinwiddie) available to acquire a player who is in the last year of his contract. The exception cannot be split and will expire after it is used once. The exception cannot be combined with another player on the Nets’ roster to trade for a player with a higher salary...

Still, he notes, using the exception could probably require the Nets to add a sweetener to get a deal done.

To use the exception, the Nets would likely have to attach one of the many second-round picks they possess. Brooklyn has picks from the Hawks and Suns in 2021, the Pacers in 2023 and the Warriors in 2025 in addition to its own second-round picks in 2022, 2024, 2026 and 2027.

The Nets also have four stashes and $3 million in cash considerations to use as sweeteners.

Bobby Marks has his own list of bigs the Nets might be interested in ... beyond Drummond.

[S]ome names to keep an eye include Khem Birch (Orlando), JaVale McGee (Cleveland), Ed Davis (Minnesota), Mike Muscala (Oklahoma City) and Hassan Whiteside (Sacramento).

All those bigs are on expiring deals that would fit easily into the DPE. Davis of course played for Brooklyn in 2018-19.

As for the buyout market which will expire on April 9, there are other names being bandied about in pundits assessments of Nets needs, starting with Drummond and Blake Griffin, two bigs whose teams have sent them home for the season. J.J. Redick, an off-season resident of Brooklyn’s DUMBO, appears to want to join the Nets and Otto Porter Jr. might be a candidate as well. Problem is that once those players get bought out, their Bird Rights go away. Someone like Drummond would have to accept a much smaller deal with the Nets next season ... if he wanted to stay.

So we wait and watch for maybe another ESPN writer, one with a propensity for bombs, to check in.

Meanwhile, Kelly Ilko of The Athletic reports that Nets are among a number of teams “sniffing around” P.J. Tucker, the 6’5” defensive-oriented wing,

Following Harden’s trade to the Nets, The Athletic reported on several teams inquiring about Tucker’s availability. As the trade deadline approaches, that interest is still alive and well around the league from contenders. Sources say teams such as Brooklyn, Utah and Denver all have sniffed around, and there certainly will be other contenders looking to improve heading into the second half of the season.

However, Ilko also reported that Tucker, 35, has had a drop-off in his production. Tucker is on an expiring contract paying him nearly $8 million.