Nets Turned Down Heat’s Trade Offer for Ex-Star at Deadline: Report

Brooklyn Nets

Getty Head coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat.

The Brooklyn Nets could have tipped the scales in the NBA Finals.

Brooklyn traded Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks on February 3, just days before sending Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns in what was the official end of their latest experiment with creating a super team. But the return could have been something different entirely from the Miami Heat.

“Just to give you a glimpse of what they’ve looked at over the last several months: They made an offer to the Nets for Kyrie Irving at the deadline…right before he got traded to the Mavericks,” reported The Athletic’s Shams Charania on ‘Run It Back’ presented by FanDuel TV on June 13.

Brooklyn received Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a 2029 first-round pick, and a pair of second-rounders in return for Irving.

But that trade was made in part to keep Durant happy and, more importantly, in Brooklyn.

It’s fair to wonder if Nets general manager Sean Marks would have still gone through with the Mavericks trade knowing Durant would want out anyway. A return from Miami would not have returned the same level of two-way versatility but it might have gotten them a bonafide scorer off the dribble in Tyler Herro.

Herro broke his hand in the Heat’s first playoff game and despite being cleared for Game 5 of the Finals, he did not play, missing the entire rest of the postseason.

Miami — who made it all the way to the NBA Finals but lost to the Denver Nuggets in five games — would have had to put Herro, 23, in him in a package – his four-year, $120 million contract kicks in next season – which could have brought back another shooter in Duncan Robinson.

Robinson, 29, went from seeing spotty minutes in Miami’s rotation to filling the vital role envisioned for him when they signed him to a five-year, $90 million contract.

That deal would have required additional salary which would have had to include Kyle Lowry and the rest of his three-year, $85 million contract, possibly going to a third team, to satisfy league rules. If they could have made it through to this summer, it could have been Herro, Robinson, and draft picks but would also have meant sending Irving to an Eastern Conference rival.

It could not have included Bam Adebayo regardless due to league rules on acquiring more than one designated max rookie extension player via trade — the already roster Ben Simmons.

Nets Vets Discuss Future in Brooklyn

It’s hard to say which side’s draft picks will be better four-plus years down the road but Dinwiddie and Finney-Smith were solid contributors, blending in with what Cameron Johnson desired as two other groups to form a coherent starting lineup.

Brooklyn’s new-look starting lineup of Dinwiddie, Finney-Smith, Johnson, Mikal Bridges, and Nic Claxton posted a plus-3.2 net rating in the regular season, per Cleaning The Glass.

That was good enough to rank in the 72nd percentile, albeit in fewer than 700 possessions.

“I think I’m settling into my role with this group,” Dinwiddie said via the Nets’ YouTube channel after Brooklyn’s win over the Houston Rockets on March 29. “Understanding what we need in terms of getting in the paint, trying to get guys going all that stuff…It’s a process: We’re all learning each other, we’re all trying to get everything down pat.”

Dinwiddie, 30, is heading into the final year of a three-year, $54 million deal.

Finney-Smith, 30, is going into the second year of a four-year, $55.6 million contract he received from Dallas in February of 2022.

He was a little more wary of looking too far ahead in his exit interview on April 23.

“We got to see what’s gonna happen,” he said. “I mean if we’re going to be honest, everybody hears what’s going on. The pieces we have and you just never know in this league. So I guess we’re gonna see after the draft. We’ll see what’s going on and go from there.”

Sean Marks Preached Patience in Exit Interview

The Nets’ surplus of wings could put them in a position of power in trade talks. But they could also wait until they have a better idea of what the pieces they have really are.

Marks has already said he will not pursue a star in a blockbuster trade just because.

They are expected to shop Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale at least and Dinwiddie could be in a similar boat as an aging veteran on a non-title contending team. But, judging from Marks’ comments, anything can still happen.