The All-Star break is here, and the Brooklyn Nets are sitting pretty with a 24-13 record — including their most recent stretch of 10 wins in 11 games — and a rise to second place in the Eastern Conference standings, just a half game behind the first-place Philadelphia 76ers.
But there’s still plenty of room for improvement, especially as the Nets eye a championship run later this year.
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Spencer Dinwiddie Expected to Opt Out
Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie is expected to opt out of his $12.3 million player option for next season, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Thursday. Dinwiddie posted All-Star caliber numbers last season — 20.6 points, 6.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 64 games — but suffered a partially torn ACL in late December. The 6-foot-5 guard is progressing in his rehab — he often posts updates to his social media — and has not ruled out a return later this season.
The expectation that the 27-year-old Dinwiddie will opt out after this season is significant in that it should further compel the Nets to look to trade him ahead of the March 25 deadline. For the win-now Nets, getting back assets for Dinwiddie now makes sense considering he could walk away for nothing after the season.
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Teams Interested in Dinwiddie
Not only are the Nets reportedly shopping Dinwiddie, but there’s also significant interest in him.
Charania reported that several teams have pursued Dinwiddie in trade talks. Teams have extra incentive to trade for Dinwiddie in order to receive his Bird rights and offer him a deal up to five years in free agency, as Charania notes.
Meanwhile, the Nets were granted a $5.7 million disabled player exception to compensate for Spencer’s injury, which they have until April 19 to use. They can use the exception to sign, trade or claim off waivers any player making less than $5.7 million, but that player must be on an expiring or one-year contract.
The DPE will extinguish if Dinwiddie is traded between now and the March 25 deadline — which is looking like an increasing possibility.
With regard to Dinwiddie, despite being in the last year of his contract (he has a player option in 2021-22) and out for the season, the guard has value because the acquiring team would retain his Bird rights, allowing it to exceed the cap to re-sign him as a free agent.
With 73% of the teams projected not to have cap space this summer, Brooklyn could also hold on to him past the trade deadline and explore sign-and-trade options in the offs.