With the Feb. 8 trade deadline fast approaching next week, the operative word for Nets general manager Sean Marks is “curious.” Marks acknowledged that players developed by the Nets have generated curiosity around the NBA as teams shop for bargains, and he also must maintain a healthy curiosity about whatever offers might be presented and how they might impact the long-term future of the organization.
Marks declined to discuss specific players or trade rumors in a recent discussion, but it’s clear that perimeter shooter Joe Harris, who is having a career year and is headed to free agency after this season, will attract attention.
Point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, who is having a breakout season and will be on a non-guaranteed contract for a mere $1.6 million next season, also is widely considered a bargain. Veteran small forward DeMarre Carroll, who is on the books next season for $15 million, has revived his career with the Nets and could help a playoff contender.
Discussing the level of interest his roster has generated, Marks said, “I would say we’re always getting calls. That’s a credit to the players because they’ve devoted themselves and really developed themselves, and it’s a credit to our coaching staff because they’ve done a heck of a job and the performance team has done a heck of a job developing these guys.
“Just because we get a call doesn’t mean we’re going to do anything. At the end of the day, I think if we’ve invested a lot of sweat equity in guys, I would like that to be fruitful for the Nets’ organization. I don’t know how that’s going to play out.”
Considering the work that went into identifying and developing players such as Harris and Dinwiddie, it’s possible Marks might be willing to meet an asking price by Harris that could approach $5 million to $6 million to start. Dinwiddie is eligible for an extension in December and might be worth as much as $8 million to $9 million.
“Everybody has a walkaway [price], right?” Marks said. “We have walkaways. We’ll see. I think we’ve been creative up until this point. We’ve been patient up until this point. I think that’s going to continue. I think we’re going to be curious. I think there’s going to be other guys that we find and develop along the way here. It could be one, it could be three, I have no idea.”
Certainly, Marks and the Nets were creative in July when they took the final two years of Carroll’s contract worth $30 million from Toronto and added the Raptors’ first- and second-round picks in 2018 in the bargain. Toronto received center Justin Hamilton. Cleveland owns the Nets’ first-round pick, which was the final one dealt away as part of the ill-fated 2014 trade with the Celtics for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. The Nets finally will control their own first-round pick again in 2019.
“I would like to think we’ll draft that draft pick,” Marks said.
The question is whether the Nets will trade players on the current roster if they have a chance to accumulate more draft picks this June or in the future.
“It all depends on what the draft pick is,” Marks said. “There’s so many [variables], I can’t even answer that.”
Ultimately, Marks must weigh the need to begin developing some roster continuity against the need to improve the overall talent level, as he already has done with trades for former lottery picks D’Angelo Russell, Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas. That’s the type of question Marks, coach Kenny Atkinson and the rest of the personnel staff will face in the next few days.
“We’re never going to do anything that’s in a hurry,” Marks said. “I would like to think we’ve thought about this over the course of the last year or two years. We’re going to have to answer these questions; we’re going to have to be prepared. Can you be prepared for everything? Absolutely not. You never know what’s going to happen.”