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RUMOR ROUND-UP: Smoke rises but fires hard to find as deadline looms

Nets are in conversations as both a buyer and seller, reports Brian Windhorst and interest remains in their two 3-and-D types, but nothing has happened yet.

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Dallas Mavericks v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

When Adrian Wojnarowski and Bobby Marks talked last night in preparation for today’s podcast, there was little talk of the current talks because none of them had yet resulted in actual deals. Since then, things have started to happen with the Pistons landed Simone Fonteccio and the Celtics acquired Xavier Tillman, both for picks and the Timberwolves traded for Monte Morris, sending Shake Milton and Troy Brown Jr. to Motor City. The trades basically confirming what the two have said repeatedly about the likely trade landscape this season: exchanges of players who are between seventh and ninth in teams’ rotations.

The podcast is most valuable not for Nets news — there was none — but for Nets history. Woj and Marks talked about deadlines past, particularly the first Dwightmares and how the trade that sent Jason Kidd to Dallas materialized. But that was then and this is now.

So what’s the latest?? A lot of smoke, but fire, not so much.

  • It appears that two teams in the Midwest, one of whose team plane will land tonight in New York, perhaps ready to pick something up and leave something behind after tomorrow night’s game at Barclays Center.

Chris Fedor, the long-time Cleveland Cavaliers beat writer, writes Wednesday that the Nets two 3-and-D specialists, Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale are still in the Cavs sights, as is Lonnie Walker IV. (Jake Fischer wrote Tuesday that the Celtics are also interested in the 25-year-old who is on a one-year, vets minimum deal.)

Nets forwards Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale are also still on the Cavs’ radar, while Nets guard Lonnie Walker and Grizzlies wing John Konchar are among the other potential targets worth keeping an eye on.

Fedor was ambiguous about who might the Cavs offer in return but he has previously reported that the Nets have been interested int Dean Wade, the Cavs own 6’9” 27-year-old 3-and-D type. Wade is considerably less expensive as well as younger than the two Nets. While DFS will earn $13.9 million this season and nearly $30 million, including a player option beyond this season, O’Neale is an expiring and Wade will earn $5.6 million, the first year of a three-year, $18 million contract.

There’s also Caris LeVert who the Cavs reportedly are willing to deal. LeVert who played three years with the Nets before being traded is in the first year of an almost equally divided two year, $32 million contract. LeVert is now 29.

As for the other team still apparently talking to the Nets are the Milwaukee Bucks, per Brian Windhorst. They too are interested in DFS and it would seem that if reports are true and multiple teams are pursuing the veteran big, it could harbinger a bidding war closer to the 3:00 p.m. ET deadline. Teams do not have agree to bidding war and will often deal directly with multiple teams, not letting the other team know. And while nothing has evolved yet, Windy said that it’s not because they haven’t been on the phone.

“Brooklyn has been involved in a lot of different conversations,” Windhorst told his ESPN colleague Tim Bontemps (at 47:10 in of the Hoop Collective). “They’ve been in conversations where they’re selling pieces and they’ve been in conversations where they’re buying people. Spencer Dinwiddie is the most available player if they’re buying — maybe attach something to him to bring it in. If they’re selling, the question is do they sell either Royce O’Neale or Dorian Finney-Smith. The asking price for both has been pretty high, but those are some role players who could be interesting.”

Talking on ESPN in the early evening, Windhorst said that IF the Nets decide to sell, watch Nic Claxton because he’s an unrestricted free agent, but didn’t indicate that 1) they are selling or 2) selling Claxton.

  • Later in the afternoon, after NetsDaily reported hearing that Spencer Dinwiddie could be bought out if no market emerges for him, Dinwiddie replied with a denial...

Then in response to fans’ comments, he implied what many have believed, that he is unhappy with his minutes, his place in the rotation...

He also said he wanted to clear the record on another recent controversy. Zach Lowe in a column last month, wrote this: “ It almost looks as if Dinwiddie is on some kind of strike,” implying he is not giving his best. (NetsDaily wrote this in response to Lowe.)

Dinwiddie also attributed the recent reports to the team’s string of losses, going from 13-10 early to 20-30 now.

Those close to Dinwiddie have indeed suggested the Nets veteran is not happy with Jacque Vaughn.

Keeping either of the two expirings would be “bad business,” as one league insider told NetsDaily. Unless they plan to re-sign the two in the summer, which seems highly unlikely considering their concerns about the luxury tax, they would be losing assets. Of course, that same source said there’s there’s “no market” for Dinwiddie who for whatever reason is having his worst statistical year since he first was signed by Brooklyn back in 2016-17.

  • Jake Fischer of Yahoo! Sports in his daily update, echoed what Shams Charania has reported three times: that the Lakers may be interested in Dinwiddie, Finney-Smith and O’Neale.

One of the most consistent pieces of league-wide information has been Los Angeles’ interest in several players on the Brooklyn Nets. It seems Dorian Finney-Smith and Spencer Dinwiddie are the two Nets who offer the most intrigue to the Lakers, but Los Angeles has also shown interest in Royce O’Neale, sources said. The Nets also roster Lonnie Walker, who fans may recall became a Lakers postseason cult hero last spring and has drawn interest from multiple playoff contenders.

Woj however has been reporting that the Lakers wind up being quiet and a trade involving all three of the Nets rumored to be on the block would involve $44 million in contracts. That, of course, could not be characterized as “quiet.”

  • In other news, The Athletic added another of the Nets point guards, Dennis Smith Jr. to its list of players who could be traded, that is, “available on the market” in Athletic’s parlance.

There are four Brooklyn Nets players on this edition, with Dorian Finney-Smith, Dennis Smith Jr. and Spencer Dinwiddie joining Royce O’Neale.

So now, we wait. As Woj told Bobby Marks on Tuesday, things start happening around 11:30 a.m. ET Thursday and push a hectic pace till the deadline. Most of those deals, however, will be small.

For the record, O’Neale said preemptory goodbyes last night post-game. The Nets will not have a shootaround tomorrow and the deadline, as noted, is 3:00 p.m.