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RUMOR ROUND-UP: With a week to go, trade tempo perks up for Brooklyn Nets

Names, names, names keep popping up with a week to go before the trade deadline.

Houston Rockets v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

As Bobby Marks noted in a recent tweet, the real trade market doesn’t start until the week before the deadline, with 31 of the last two years’ 36 deals coming in those last seven days. The trade deadline is now a week away and the rumors are if not flying, then revving up.

In a series of tweets, appearances and substack entries, Shams Charania and Marc Stein have mentioned the Brooklyn Nets as active players in the trade market between now and 3:00 p.m. ET February 8.

Specifically, the pundit class suggests that the Nets three senior players are subjects of interest around the league, Mikal Bridges is virtually untouchable and Nic Claxton may or may not be available.

For the second day in a row, Shams has said the Los Angeles Lakers are interested in the Nets three 30-olds — Spencer Dinwiddie and Royce O’Neale, both expiring deals, and Dorian FInney-Smith, who has two years after this one left on his contract. Moreover, the Athletic/Stadium correspondent emphasized that L.A. could be interested in all three...

“They have a few players — Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale — that will get interest around the league.” said Charania. “I think they’re going to get offers leading up to the deadline next Thursday. The Lakers are one of the teams what have interest in all three and for the Lakers if you can bring in three role players, it’s similar to what you did last year when you reshuffled the deck, brought in a bunch of role players to put around Anthony Davis and LeBron James.

“We’ll see if they go that route or do they go the Dejounte Murray route out in L.A., but the Nets will have interest around all three leading up to the deadline next week.”

On Wednesday, Shams told FanDuel much the same thing but left it ambiguous about whether the Lakers were interested in one, two or all three of the Nets players. He cleared that up Thursday by saying all three were on L.A.’s target list.

Sam Amico had this to say about how the Nets feel about their two 3-and-D players.

The Nets are said to be determined to move at least Royce O’Neale or forward Dorian Finney-Smith before the deadline, if not both. While the Nets like them, neither is considered a part of the long-term plans. Sources believe Brooklyn will move at least one while they presumably can still receive a decent asset in return.

The comments got fans all stirred up and trying to run a trade machines with possible trades. The biggest possibility, of course, would be the return of D’Angelo Russell, who played two years with the Nets half a decade ago. On Wednesday, Brian Windhorst said that DLo’s name has been “among those names floated. With an expiring $20.3 million deal, Dinwiddie is the likely fulcrum in any big move before the deadline.”

In addition, Rui Hachimura, who turns 26 next Thursday, is another Laker asset the Nets may be interested in. Marc Stein in his podcast last year said that the Nets had interest in the 6’9” Japanese big man at the 2023 deadline when the Nets and Lakers engaged in talks about Kyrie Irving.

Stein in his trade talk update Thursday emphasized that the Nets are “ironclad” about keeping Mikal Bridges and added to Mike Scotto’s and Shams Charania’s earlier reporting on Wednesday.

There have been multiple reports this week of Houston making a determined play for Bridges involving offers that would return a healthy measure of the draft capital that the Nets surrendered in their January 2021 trade to acquire James Harden.

Word is that Brooklyn won’t yield on Bridges’ off-limits status even if the Rockets made Jalen Green part of the trade package.

Similarly, Shams said the Nets are resisting all entreaties on Bridges.

The Rockets have joined the long line of teams showing extremely high interest in Nets forward Mikal Bridges, league sources say. Houston made an offer including multiple first-round draft picks for Bridges in recent weeks, but the Nets have zero interest in any deal involving Bridges, who is part of Brooklyn’s core moving forward.

Shams colleague at The Athletic, Sam Amick, had similar things to say on a podcast Thursday re the Nets desire to keep Bridges and league-wide interest in him, noting that Rockets head coach Ime Udoka has Bridges at the top of his list of deadline targets.

“The idea of Mikal coming to the Rockets in a Jalen Green-centered deal would make Ime (Udoka) and Co. very happy,” said Amick.

Finally, on Friday morning, Jake Fischer of Yahoo! added his voice on the Bridges-as-untouchable.

The Brooklyn Nets, league sources told Yahoo Sports, continue to shut down any inquiry for Mikal Bridges, as HoopsHype reported earlier this week. The same goes for Jarrett Allen in Cleveland, where the Cavaliers have rebuffed any interest in their All-Star center, sources said.

Claxton has said all the right things about wanting to return to Brooklyn as has Sean Marks about keeping him, but the 6’11” 24-year-old could command a $100 million contract that could put the Nets over the luxury tax threshold next year which would lead to both the repeater tax and CBA restrictions in 2025-26 when the Nets hope they can make a big splash.

He also dropped a bit of a bomb in saying that the Nets may not so set on keeping Nic Claxton who will become an unrestricted free agent in the summer.

I’ve heard more than once this week not to discount the idea that Brooklyn big man Nic Claxton could be more available over the next seven days than previously advertised.

There are mixed signals in circulation about the Nets’ plans with Claxton as unrestricted free agency looms this summer.

Claxton has said all the right things about wanting to return as has Sean Marks in talking about keeping him but the 6’11’ big could command up to $100 million which would impact the team’s desire to stay under the luxury tax threshold and avoid both the repeater tax and CBA restrictions in 2025 when the Nets hope to make a big splash.

As for Dejounte Murray, Amico reports the Nets still have interest, but don’t want to pay too big of a price.

Brooklyn continues to express interest in Hawks guard Dejounte Murray, sources said. But it appears the Nets are hesitant to move multiple first-round picks in any deal, given that they don’t exactly have a bunch to spare.

For the record, the Nets may not have their own first rounders in 2024 and 2026, both owed to Houston, but they have two firsts in 2025, their own encumbered by swap rights with Houston; three in 2027, their own encumbered by swap rights with Houston; one in 2028 as well as swap rights with Phoenix; three in 2029 as well as their own in 2030 and 2031. They also have six second rounders through 2031.