HomeBasketball TodayTrade Showtime: Nic Claxton and Dorian Finney-Smith Steal the Spotlight as Nets'...

Trade Showtime: Nic Claxton and Dorian Finney-Smith Steal the Spotlight as Nets’ Deadline MVPs!

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The Nets could be one the NBA’s most active teams at the trade deadline.

The Brooklyn Nets are expected to be among the NBA’s most active teams ahead of the February 8th trade deadline. Mired in a 6-18 stretch that has dropped them to 11th in the Eastern Conference, general manager Sean Marks faces decisions on several key players.

At the front of that list are veterans Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie and Royce O’Neale, who are expected to garner interest from several contenders. The Los Angeles Lakers have emerged as a suitor for all three players, according to Shams Charania.

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

Nets, Lakers poised to play trade deadline partners

Nets' Dorian Finney-Smith, Nets' Royce O’Neale with the Lakers logo in background.

Finney-Smith’s three-and-D play has caught the eye of several playoff teams, including the Lakers, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas Mavericks, Sacramento Kings and Milwaukee Bucks. The 30-year-old is shooting 38.3 percent from three on a career-high 5.5 attempts per game while guarding across multiple positions.

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Brooklyn is seeking the equivalent of two first-round picks for Finney-Smith. O’Neale and Dinwiddie, both on expiring contracts, will also garner interest but at a lesser price.

Los Angeles has D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura to use as salary-matchers in a trade. They could also include their 2029 first-round pick and/or a young prospect such as Jalen Hood-Schifino or Max Christie.

The Nets and Lakers both have interest in Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray. However, Atlanta does not want to bring back salary past this season in a deal, making Russell’s inclusion a sticking point in negotiations with Los Angeles. This opens the door for Brooklyn to step in as a third team, swapping Russell for Dinwiddie to facilitate a deal without giving up any draft capital.

The Nets could instead choose to make an aggressive offer for Murray. However, they’ve been unwilling to meet the Hawks’ asking price of two first-round picks thus far.

What about Nic Claxton and Mikal Bridges?

Nic Claxton, Brooklyn Nets, Spencer Dinwiddie, Nic Claxton Nets

Nic Claxton was floated as a Nets trade candidate early this season ahead of his impending unrestricted free agency. The 24-year-old is averaging 12.4 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game and could command a long-term contract worth more than $20 million annually.

While signals have pointed to the Nets re-signing Claxton this summer, the fifth-year center could be more available than previously advertised ahead of the deadline, according to Marc Stein.

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

The Nets have maintained that Mikal Bridges is not available despite the Houston Rockets’ willingness to return several of Brooklyn’s draft picks from the James Harden trade. Stein reported the Nets won’t budge on that stance even if Houston made Jalen Green part of the package.

Marks’ commitment to Bridges signals a desire to remain competitive rather than enter a rebuild, at least for the immediate future. Bridges is under contract for the next two seasons at $24 million annually, opening the door for the Nets to revisit trade interest in the coming year if they cannot find a star to pair with the 27-year-old forward.

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