Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie looks on against the Minnesota Timberwolves...

Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie looks on against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second half of an NBA basketball game at Barclays Center on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The Nets expected to be sellers at the NBA trade deadline Thursday. For general manager Sean Marks, it was about flexibility and how the team looked in the future as much as the present.

That was the logic explaining the Nets trading Spencer Dinwiddie to the Raptors and Royce O’Neale to Suns. With both players on expiring contracts, neither fit the Nets’ current timeline, as Marks framed his decisions about looking beyond improving this season.

“We’re looking way down the road here for us and what’s fitting with our timetable,” Marks said at halftime of the Nets’ 118-95 loss to the Cavaliers at Barclays Center. “Fitting with the group that we are thinking that we’re envisioning that will come back this next offseason and we’ll bring back as Nets in a year or two from here.”

The Nets (20-31) acquired guard Dennis Schroder and forward Thad Young with Dinwiddie’s departure. Young was subsequently waived and Dinwiddie was as well, by the Raptors. Dinwiddie later showed up at the Mavericks-Knicks game, a nod to the Mavericks as a potential candidate to sign him later this month.

For O’Neale, the Nets added Keita Bates-Diop, Jordan Goodwin and three second-round draft picks as part of a three-team deal with the Suns and Grizzlies. Bates-Diop was mostly a reserve with the Suns this season on a minimum contract and has a player option worth $2.3 million next season.

Goodwin is expected to be waived, leaving the Nets with an open roster spot.

The draft picks are for 2026, 2028, and 2029. The latter two picks are from the Grizzlies and the first is the least favorable of picks from the Pistons, Magic and Bucks.

The Nets also saved about $5 million in cap space by dealing Dinwiddie and O'Neale.

Dinwiddie started 48 games but saw his minutes decline in close games and shot just 39.1%, the lowest among qualified players. With Schroder replacing him in the backcourt, Marks wanted to add another tough-minded player who helped Germany win the FIBA World Cup last summer.

“I was fortunate enough to be over and watch FIBA this offseason and saw him there as well,” Marks said. “So it’s great to see how he led Germany and what he did for that team. So he brings a level of toughness, a compete, a grit, the things that we’re looking for.”

Schroder, an 11-year veteran, signed a two-year deal with the Raptors last season and is owed $13 million next season. He started 33 of 51 games before he was benched after the team traded for Immanuel Quickley.

Schroder joined the Nets on the bench in the second half after completing his physical. He found out about the trade Wednesday night when his agent called and woke him up to tell him the news.

“Having a family, three kids, a wife, it’s not easy,” said Schroder, who is expected to make his debut Saturday. “Of course, I go to a new city, new situation; but at the end of the day, we play basketball for a living and really extremely grateful for it. [I] can’t wait to get to know everybody in the locker room, front office, everybody who is in this organization and get to work.”

Toughness was something the Nets tried to use Thursday. With only nine players eligible, they trailed 59-51 at halftime but gave up a 21-0 run to open the third quarter

Mikal Bridges led the Nets with 26 points while Donovan Mitchell had 27 points for the Cavaliers (33-16), who’ve won 16 of their last 17 games. The Nets are 11 games under .500 for the first time since the 2017-18 season.

Marks also reiterated that the Nets’ goal is reach the postseason. They sit two games out of a play-in spot.

“I have utmost faith in this group to go out there and put a sustainable product on the floor,” Marks said. “I mean, that’s going to be a goal here, that we can compete night in and night out, something that the fans can get behind.”

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