NBA rumors: Spencer Dinwiddie injury could impact Nets’ ability to pull off blockbuster trade

By Vincent Frank
Jan 18, 2020; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (8) dribbles the ball against the Milwaukee Bucks during the first half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

NBA rumors continue to link three-time reigning scoring champion James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets in a trade. While conversations between the Nets and Rockets have never really reached a serious point, a move of this ilk would make sense for both teams.

Harden has made it clear he wants out of Houston. The Rockets are going to have to trade him sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, the Nets’ ability to team Harden up with a fully healthy Kevin Durant and rejuvenated Kyrie Irving would make them odds-on title favorites.

We’re not sure whether NBA rumors linking the Nets to a James Harden trade will end up developing into something substantial. What we do know is that the partially torn ACL Spencer Dinwiddie suffered in the third quarter of Sunday night’s game against the Charlotte Hornets could have wide-ranging ramifications.

Related: James Harden trade scenarios

NBA rumors: Spencer Dinwiddie injury could impact Nets’ ability to pull off blockbuster trade

NBA rumors: Spencer Dinwiddie injury, Nets trade options
Mar 8, 2020; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (26) drives past Chicago Bulls guard Coby White (0) in the third quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Dinwiddie, 27, is expected to miss the remainder of the 2020-21 season and has a player option for next season amounting to $12.3 million. Even with this injury, there’s a good chance the point guard will opt out of said deal.

Remember, Dinwiddie averaged 20.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 6.8 assists for the Nets last season. He had a hard time fitting in with Irving and Durant in the 2.5 games to start the 2020-21 campaign. This comes on the heels of previous NBA rumors suggesting that Dinwiddie and his $11.45 million salary for this season would be part of a package heading back to Houston in a potential James Harden trade.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Nets, check out #WeGoHard rumors, rankings, and news here.

As ESPN’s Zach Lowe notes, the Dinwiddie injury does not break a potential Harden to Brooklyn trade. A potential deal was never really in the offerings to begin with.

“Spencer Dinwiddie’s health did not make or break the Nets’ ability to get James Harden,” Lowe noted on his podcast. “It’s unclear to me, frankly, if those teams have had anything resembling a serious conversation about James Harden. Let’s make that clear. I don’t sense that there’s been hardly any traction there at all. And maybe the way the Nets started had them thinking ‘Why are we messing with this?”

So why the hubbub surrounding the Dinwiddie injury outside of its impact on the Nets’ depth? Well, it’s rather simple. If the Nets are looking to upgrade (outside of acquiring Harden), Dinwiddie would likely have to be one of the moving parts. Brooklyn is capped out. It needs salaries to match.

NBA rumors: Nets now handcuffed when it comes to pulling off a trade

NBA rumors: James Harden
Dec 17, 2020; Houston, TX, USA; James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets controls the ball during the second quarter of a game against the San Antonio Spurs at the Toyota Center on December 17, 2020 in Houston, Texas. Mandatory Credit: Carmen Mandato/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

While Caris Levert’s $16.2 million salary would help in a potential smaller trade than the Harden one bandied about, it seems highly unlikely that the Nets will want to give him up. He’s taken to the Sixth Man role to a T thus far this season, averaging 17.0 points in four games. Brooklyn wouldn’t want to part with that piece for any player that’s not considered a true All-Star.

At 2-2 on the season, these Nets look completely revamped now that Durant is back to being his old self. This does not mean upgrades shouldn’t be in the cards for general manager Sean Marks and Co.

Not even taking into account the ridiculously top-heavy Western Conference in the NBA title hunt, the east seems to be vastly improved this season. There’s no reason to believe the Nets will be resting on their laurels.

Unfortunately, the Spencer Dinwiddie injury could impact their ability to pull off a notable deal ahead of the NBA trade deadline. Simply put, Brooklyn now lacks the necessary assets and salaries to make a move of this ilk. Outside of the Dinwiddie injury impacting the team’s depth, this has to be considered one of the top takeaways here.

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Related: If you’re a fan of the Nets, check out #WeGoHard rumors, rankings, and news here.