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In 5-team S&T for Dinwiddie, Nets get second in 2024, swap of seconds in 2025, $11.5 million trade exception and Euro stash

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NBA: Orlando Magic at Brooklyn Nets Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

The Spencer Dinwiddie sign-and-trade melodrama is over.

The Nets point guard, who played three games last season after tearing his ACL is headed to Washington where he’ll be paid $62 million over three years, with the last year partially guaranteed.

In return, the Nets are getting:

  • A second rounder in 2024 ... the more favorable of the Wizards and Grizzlies pick Washington controls;
  • The right to swap Washington’s second round pick for the Warriors second the Nets control in 2025;
  • The draft rights to top European center, Nikola Milutinov, taken by the Spurs in the 2015 Draft; and
  • An $11.45 million trade exception that can be used for up to a year after the sign-and-trade is officially executed. That’s likely to happen Friday.

It wasn’t quite a six to eight-team deal that some had expected — nor was it what some Nets fans had hoped for — but it did involve five teams, seven players, rights to two 2021 draft picks, five future picks and a stashed first round pick from 2015. The Lakers, Spurs and Pacers were involved as well as the Nets and Wizards.

In order for everything to fit neatly under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, the Lakers trade for Russell Westbrook and the Pacers trade for the Wizards 2021 first rounder, Isaiah Jackson, were folded into the deal.

Here’s the basic trade, as tweeted by Bobby Marks.

The 2025 swap will be for the better of Golden State’s second round pick – which Brooklyn received in the sign-and-trade that brought Kevin Durant to the Nets in 2019 – and Washington’s second round pick. The deal will give the Nets two seconds in 2024, their own and the Wizards. The Nets do not have a first that year, having traded it to Houston in the James Harden trade.

Early Thursday morning, Fred Katz of The Athletic reported that the Nets also received the draft rights to Milutinov from the Spurs.

Milutinov, a 7’0” 26-year-old, is Europe’s third highest paid player. He’s currently under contract with CSKA Moscow (where he was a teammate of Mike James.) According to a Yahoo! Sports report, he doesn’t have an NBA “out” for two years, but CSKA is retooling and Milutinov’s status is uncertain. Sean Marks was San Antonio’s assistant GM in 2015 when the Spurs took Milutinov, who’s also member of the Serbian national team, with the 26th pick.

The biggest asset the Nets acquired, however, was the TPE which can be used in a trade or to claim a player off waivers. It can be used as soon as the trade is officially executed, at the deadline or any time up to the first anniversary of the trade. It can also be divided and used in multiple transactions. However, it cannot be used in an S&T without triggering the hard-cap. Nor can it be used to sign players.

Without knowing about the inclusion of Milutinov’s draft rights, Kevin Pelton graded the trade for ESPN+ and gave the Nets an A-.

Sure, the Nets are helping out a conference rival, but the Wizards aren’t really Brooklyn’s concern at this point. The Nets have to be focused on winning a championship, and there are scenarios where having a sizable trade exception could be useful. Getting a second-round pick and a second-round swap option is reasonable compensation for facilitating Washington’s end of things.

The trade was similar to the last sign-and-trade involving a top NBA player. In December 2020, Gordon Hayward was traded to the Hornets for a conditional 2022 second-round draft pick, but the Celtics had to send out 2023 and 2024 second-round draft picks in the exchange. Hayward signed a four-year, $120 million deal as part of the S&T and Boston came away with a $28.5 million trade exception.

The trade negotiations that led to the five-team deal apparently went through many iterations. There were reports that the Nets rebuffed a Celtics offer of Kyle Kuzma and/or Montrezl Harrell for Dinwiddie which the Nets rebuffed. Similarly, the Nets initially demanded both first and second rounders as well Deni Avdija, the Wizards rookie swingman. That, too, was rebuffed, according to reports.

There also reports that the Nets were trying to dump DeAndre Jordan’s contract, which has $19.7 million and two years left.

Kristian Winfield reported post-trade that the Nets did not want to include Jordan, who’s close friends with both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, despite Steve Nash’s reluctances to play him at the end of the season. After a five-minute stint on May 8, Jordan did not play a single second in 18 straight games including the playoffs. Winfield wrote...

The Nets were unwilling to part ways with DeAndre Jordan as part of the deals despite his position fixed at the end of the rotation, league sources tell The News. Jordan signed a four-year deal worth $40 million in the same offseason the Nets signed both Irving and Kevin Durant. He is on the hook for $20 million more over the next two seasons, but his bond with the Brooklyn Big 3 is too strong for a deal to consummate, per source.

(However, sources told NetsDaily that the Nets were offering one or both of their first round picks on Draft Night to move off DJ’s contract but got no takers.)

Dinwiddie now gets a chance to run his own team ... and recoup what he lost by signing two comparatively small contracts with the Nets that left him decidedly underpaid: one when he was picked out of the G League in December 2016, then a three-year extension two years later. The average salary of $21 million is close to what he had valued himself. In a podcast with Howard Beck, he put his market value at between $20 and $25 million.

In 2019-20, he proved that he could run a team when with Irving out, he averaged 20.6 points and 6.8 assists. He wound up a leading candidate for Most Improved Player. Moreover, he was a fan favorite throughout his time in Brooklyn. With him gone, only Joe Harris is left from the 2016-17 Nets, Sean Marks’ first team as GM.

Dinwiddie’s prospects were hurt when he went down with a partially torn ACL in the Nets third game of this past season. It was his second ACL tear in seven years. He spent the rest of the year rehabbing in Los Angeles near his home. He wasn’t cleared for play until after the Nets lost to the Bucks in the second round.

Sean Marks as recently as two days ago praised Dinwiddie, saying he was in line for “generational wealth.”

“Spencer deserves his ability to go into the free-agent market and test it. If we are going to participate in a sign-and-trade and the likes, it’s really up to Spencer. It’s up to Spencer to where he wants to play first and foremost. He’s going to have to decide that,” said Marks on Dinwiddie.

And late Wednesday, Dinwiddie posted a tribute video to the Nets and their fans with the caption: “Quite simply, Sean, Joe, Clara and the Nets saved my career — Thank you to each and every staff member and teammate. @adampharrington and @stefania__rizzo especially,“ a reference to development coach Adam Harrington and Director of Performance Rehabilitation Stefania Rizzo...

The Nets could of course make another move or two to complete their roster, but after signing Mills on Tuesday, the team currently has a payroll of $295 million in salaries and luxury taxes. As for the roster, it’s now at 13 players plus the two first round picks, both of whom are guaranteed standard rookie deals.

In other news Thursday, the New Orleans Pelicans announced that Mike D’Antoni, who left the Nets last month after a year as an assistant coach, will join the team as a coaching consultant.