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Nets trade cupboard may not be bare, but it’s kind of dusty ... We take a look inside

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If the Nets want to make a trade at the March 25 deadline (or before), what they have to offer is somewhat limited. Sure they have their own players, but the four-team trade that brought James Harden to Brooklyn took care of their first rounders. ALL gone. There are some assets left, but they’re mostly second rounders, exceptions and draft stashes. We decided to take a look at just what’s there.

Let’s start with the Draft assets ... such as they are.

Brooklyn in effect gave up control of all their firsts over the next seven years in the Harden deal. To be specific, the Nets gave Houston their first rounders in 2022, 2024 and 2026 and agreed to swap picks at the Rockets discretion in 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027. None of the picks or swaps are protected and under the league’s Stepien Rule, teams can’t trade first rounders in back-to-back years so the Nets wouldn’t even be able to trade picks covered by the swaps ... unless they can acquire another first in the years where they agreed to swap picks, starting this year.

This year’s pick is even further complicated by a side deal Houston has with Portland. It’s possible that the Nets could be swapping picks with the Blazers, but bottom line, the more games the Nets win, the less likely they’ll have to swap. Of course, that will mean the pick will be lower, too.

So, what else do the Nets have to offer in deals, particularly a trade where a team wants to dump a player on the expiring deal and is willing to accept second rounders (or a stash or cash in return.) When Sean Marks walked in the door, he not only had no first rounders. He had no second rounders through this year’s draft either. Since then, Marks has added seconds here and there. Here’s what the Nets have going forward in the second round.

2021

—the Hawks second rounder, acquired in the salary dump of Allen Crabbe in June 2019;

—the Suns second rounder, protected 31-35, acquired in the trade for Jared Dudley in 2018.

—the Pacers second rounder IF Indiana doesn’t make the playoffs. If Indy makes the playoffs, virtually a sure thing, the second rounder rolls over to 2022. The protections run out in 2023 at which point the pick would transfer automatically. It was part of the Caris LeVert-for-Thaddeus Young deal in 2016.

2022

—Their own pick, which one would assume (and hope) would be lower than No. 50. They could also wind up with the Pacers pick, but again only if Indiana misses out on the playoffs.

2023

—The Nets have the right to swap second rounders with the Hawks, part of the 2018 Jeremy Lin trade. The Stepien Rule does not apply to second rounders.

—The Pacers pick, if not already conveyed, goes to the Nets.

2024

—Their own pick.

2025

—The Warriors second round pick, part of the sign-and-trade that brought Kevin Durant to Brooklyn and sent D”Angelo Russell to Golden State.

2026

—Their own pick.

2027

—Their own pick.

Not a lot there. Other teams could bet that the Nets won’t be able to sustain their high level of play in the out-years of the trade and so think they’ll get a high pick in the second. Otherwise, the Pacers pick might be of interest but again only if teams think they’re headed for a downfall in the next two years. The Hawks and Suns picks this year don’t look that promising. If the Draft were held today, they’d be the No. 44 and 52 selections.

And what about assets beyond picks?

The Nets do have four stashes, all overseas. Before the season opened, they had six, but 1) they sent the rights to Jaylen Hands to Detroit in the three-team deal that got the Nets Bruce Brown and Landry Shamet and 2) sent the rights of Aleksandar Vezenkov to Cleveland in the four-team Harden deal. The most valuable of the four, by far, is 6’5” point guard Isaia Cordinier who’s been tearing up the French League and is now being courted by Euroleague teams. He’s 24.

They also have about $3 million in cash considerations after sending $2.6 million to Indiana in the reconstituted deal for Caris LeVert and, of course there’s the taxpayers MLE at $5.7 million and the DPE at $5.6 million. The MLE is pro-rated meaning its value drops during the season while the DPE expires April 19, ten days after the buyout deadline for players who want to play in the post-season. In theory, either could be used to sweeten the pot for a player bought out before April 9. There’ve been rumors about the possibility of Andre Drummond or J.J. Redick joining Brooklyn. Ring chasers always welcome. One footnote: If the Nets should trade Spencer Dinwiddie, the DPE would expire.

In terms of players, everyone on the roster is eligible to be dealt other than Tyler Johnson who has a no trade deal because of the vagaries of Bird Rights, and some newcomers. Not that the Nets plan on moving them, but Jeff Green can’t be traded until Sunday; Bruce Brown until February 15; James Harden until March 7; Norvel Pelle and Iman Shumpert until late April, meaning they can’t be traded since that’s after the deadline. Those two and Timothe’ Luwawu-Cabarrot are non-guaranteed past February 24, meaning they could give the Nets some roster flexibility up to that point. Chris Chiozza, who’s on a two-way, can be waived up until March 7 when all two-ways are fully guaranteed.

Two Nets can be signed to extensions soon but the likelihood is limited. The Nets can start negotiating an extension with Spencer Dinwiddie, who has a player option on July 31, starting Friday. He’s eligible for an additional four-years and up to $61.6 million to his current deal, reports Yossi Gozlan of Hoopshype. That could start at up to $13.7 million, which would replace his $12.3 million player option for 2021-22, per Gozlan. That’s hardly likely, with his current health situation, and the strong possibility he could be offered a lot more once he exercises that player option.

A week from Monday, the Nets and Bruce Brown could start talking. Unless they extend him, the popular guard will be a restricted free agent. He’s likely to get offers elsewhere. Gozlan reports the Nets could extend him for up to four years, $53.8 million that too is unlikely. Still, as Gozlan notes, the Nets could look to lock him up to a reasonable deal. “Brooklyn only has eight players under contract heading into next season (nine with their draft pick included) and could use all the depth they can get,” Gozlan wrote Friday.

Anything imminent? Probably not, although there were persistent rumors of Nets interest in JaVale McGee, who’s been pushed even further down the bench in Cleveland with the arrival of Jarret Allen. Think things will break out soon as more and more players become eligible for deals big and small.