RUMOR ROUND-UP: Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks seem likely trade partners for Brooklyn

by 24USATVFeb. 7, 2024, 11 p.m. 22
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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 buffs. 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?? 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.)

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.”

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.

For the record, O’Neale said preemptory goodbyes last night post-game.

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