NBA free agency does not officially kick off until 6 p.m. Eastern time on August 2, but the rumor mill is already churning. Given that the Brooklyn Nets already have most of their salary cap invested in their three stars Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving they are not expected to be major players in free agency.
However, the Nets still have the means to remain active during the 2021 offseason via the sign and trade market. Especially with their rising shooting guard Spencer Dinwiddie expected to hit the free agency market on Monday.
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Nets Could Land Marcus Smart in Sign & Trade With Celtics
Dinwiddie missed the majority of the 2020-21 NBA season after he partially tore his ACL in just the third game. However, Dinwiddie has now been fully cleared to participate in basketball activities and as a result will have plenty of teams at his doorstep, as he is one of the most talented guards on the market.
Dinwiddie will command a high asking price in free agency, and if the Nets are unwilling to match his request a sign and trade would be the next best option. One of the teams interested in the Nets free agent is the Boston Celtics, according to a report from Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix. If the Nets and Celtics were to agree on a deal it could land them Celtics guard Marcus Smart who was named to the NBA’s first All-Defensive team in 2020 for the second time in his career.
“Unsurprisingly, Boston’s brass isn’t too comfortable opening the season with a point guard depth chart topped by Marcus Smart and Payton Pritchard. There’s internal interest in Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, though acquiring Dinwiddie — who told SI’s Howard Beck that he is seeking a contract in the five-year, $125 million range — gets financially complicated,” Mannix wrote.
“Boston’s acquisition of Josh Richardson could spell the end of Marcus Smart’s run in Boston. Smart has become a fan favorite over seven years in Boston, but Brad Stevens has been frustrated by Smart’s unpredictable play in recent years, per sources. Smart, one of the NBA’s better perimeter defenders, is entering the final year of his contract. Boston could extend Smart, but two people familiar with Stevens thinking tell SI it’s more likely Stevens will look to trade Smart before the start of the season.”
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Wizards Could Look to Acquire Dinwiddie in Sign & Trade as Well
Another team to look out for in the Dinwiddie sweepstakes is the Washington Wizards. After trading their All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook to the Los Angeles Lakers for Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell, the Wizards could look to replace him with Dinwiddie and pair him in the backcourt with their All-Star Bradley Beal, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.
“The next name off the point guard market appears likely to be Spencer Dinwiddie to Washington, sources said,” Fischer wrote. “In a sign-and-trade that could reroute the newly acquired Kyle Kuzma or Montrezl Harrell to Brooklyn. The Nets continue their efforts to move DeAndre Jordan’s salary as well, sources said.”
Buckle up Nets fans — the suspense of 2021 NBA free agency is just getting started.