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Woj, Bontemps hint Nets seek wing defender in return for Spencer Dinwiddie

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In his hour-long podcast Thursday, Adrian Wojnarowski along with Tim Bontemps hint that the Nets are likely to be looking for a wing defender if they trade Spencer Dinwiddie before the March 25 trade deadline.

Woj also he believed the Lakers may be more appealing to Andre Drummond should the Cavs buy out the center they sent home last month. While he would be guaranteed a starting spot in L.A., that’s not sure thing in Brooklyn.

Although neither Woj nor Bontemps suggested a name, both suggested that the Nets are looking for defensive help, particularly on the wing. In explaining why the Nets weren’t interested in P.J. Tucker at the end, Woj indicated that the Nets thought there might be better defenders out there. Tucker was traded to the Bucks on Wednesday.

“Brooklyn had interest in Tucker but that faded a little bit once they picked up Blake Griffin and looked at what else might be out there for them,” said Woj, not spelling out who that “who else” might be.

Similarly, Bontemps also indicated the Nets are likely to seek a wing defender for Dinwiddie who after ACL surgery is likely out of the season but still has some trade value.

“While Spencer is a really good player ... who could eventually be part of that team going forward .., If they could add a piece that would help this this year, especially if its a good player who could help them on the defensive side of the Court. I think they have to look at doing that,” said Bontemps, who covered the Nets for the New York Post.

As for Dinwiddie’s trade prospects in general, Woj had this to say...

“Spencer Dinwiddie in Brooklyn. There are teams that would like to get his Bird Rights. He’s out for the season with a knee injury but you trade for him now and then you can re-sign him,” Woj argued. “You might be a team without space or a team who just thinks we’ll use his Bird Rights to sign him to a longer term deal in the off-season. I still think the Nets could get something for him before the trade deadline next week.”

Regarding Drummond’s availability, Woj held out a slim possibility that Drummond could be traded before the deadline.

“The expectation among most people is that it ends up in a buyout that a trade at his salary is too difficult. I do think that there are a couple of things on the board maybe in three-way situations where they can get enough salaries moved around,” said Woj.

“Ultimately all Cleveland is going to try to get out of this is what they put into it last year when they traded him from Detroit. If they can get a second round pick for him and not have to do the buyout, get some value back for him, I think they’ll do it.”

Although Woj didn’t name teams that might be interested in trading for Drummond, there have been rumors that the Mount Vernon, N.Y. native might be attractive to the Knicks.

In the more likely scenario where the Cavs and Drummond come to a deal and he moves on, Woj thinks what while the Nets and Lakers are at the top of Drummond’s list, L.A. may be more attractive.

“I think Drummond has more value right now to the Lakers. He goes to the Lakers, he’s starting at center for them,” Woj mused. “Not sure about that in Brooklyn. Maybe. but you still have DeAndre Jordan there, Blake Griffin once he gets healthy playing some small ball center. but certainly, there’s great interest in him, there will be great interest in him there.”

Bontemps said that he expects the Nets to be aggressive at both the trade and buyout deadline which is April 9.

“They’re clearly going for it. this is a team that hasn’t been doing things by half measure at this point,” he argued.

Woj also said that at least one player rumored to be on the trade bubble is probably staying with his current club.

“Unlikely John Collins will leave Atlanta,” said Woj. Collins had turned down a $90 million extension from the Hawks leading to speculation that Atlanta might try to move him rather than lose him in free agency.

Woj also said he expects that the tempo of the trade market will start to pick up early next week. He said many GMs will be in Indianapolis for the start of the NCAA Mens’ Tournament, then return Monday.

“Monday, Tuesday, All of sudden, you’ll have a couple of deals ... maybe Tuesday, Wednesday. Then Thursday in the last three hours before the deadline, they’ll be 12 or 14 or 18 deals and they’ll come rapid fire and that’s how this is going to play out.”

In a similar discussion, two other ESPN writers, Bobby Marks and Kevin Pelton suggested that Nets might be interested in two journeyman — the oft-mentioned JaVale McGee of the Cavs and Khem Birch of the Magic (who the Nets play Friday night) but noted they might be better served by waiting for the buyout market. Marks noted that the Nets are not without assets, starting with Dinwiddie.

Although Brooklyn cannot trade a first-round pick (those are going to Houston as part of the James Harden trade), the Nets do have the $11.5 million Spencer Dinwiddie contract, a $5.8 million disabled player exception (as a result of the Dinwiddie season ending injury) and eight second-round picks available.

The Brooklyn roster that once appeared to lack depth is now actually 12-deep when you factor in the bench of Blake Griffin, Bruce Brown Jr., Jeff Green, Landry Shamet, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Tyler Johnson and Nic Claxton. Could they use another big? Of course. Players like Khem Birch and JaVale McGee fit into their disabled player exception, but Brooklyn might be better off waiting until the buyout market, when the cost is nothing except for additional money toward the luxury tax.

Meanwhile, there rumors in New York and Miami that the Heat may be interested in Dinwiddie, spurred by a report from SNY’s Ian Begley. In Miami, there were suggestions — but only that— that perhaps Avery Bradley, who is an aggressive defender, could be included in a package for Dinwiddie. Bradley, 30, has been out for a month with a calf strain. Other hypothetical deals posed by the Miami Herald would include Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn, who is a restricted free agent this summer, and Jerry Harkless, who’s had a disappointing year in South Beach.

However, as Diego Quezada of SB Nation’s Hot Hot Hoops noted Thursday night...

Why would the Heat surrender valuable assets — that’s what it would take to get Dinwiddie — for a player who probably won’t play at all this season? Miami is clearly in win-now mode; the previous trades for Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder and now Trevor Ariza confirm that.

Mike Scotto of Hoopshype also included Dinwiddie in his list of players likely to move in the next week.

Dinwiddie can be obtained for a role player off the bench who can contribute this season as Brooklyn chases a title and a future second-round pick, league sources told HoopsHype.

According to executives around the league who spoke with HoopsHype, the belief is a team that is over the cap would make the most sense to trade for Dinwiddie because the team would be able to monitor his rehab progress from a partially torn ACL and acquire his Bird Rights.

Scotto also suggested that if there’s no offer that appears to Brooklyn, the front office and Dinwiddie could arrange sign-and-trade in the summer.

The Nets currently have some flexibility as they approach the two deadlines. They have two open roster spots and two exceptions of more than $5 million, the Dinwiddie DPE and the taxpayer MLE which they didn’t use in the off-season.