The Brooklyn Nets are pretty terrifying right now, even with Kevin Durant nursing an injured hamstring. The team may not be done upgrading their roster for the 2021 NBA Championship run either, with injured guard Spencer Dinwiddie serving as a potential trade chip.
Dinwiddie went down in late December with a partial ACL tear, which is expected to keep him out for the rest of the season. He was starting in the Nets' backcourt alongside Kyrie Irving before the injury, and the team's trade for James Harden. He was also one of the names often mentioned in proposed Harden deals, but largely fell out of those talks due to the injury.
He has been a valuable sixth man, and was one of the Nets' best players last year, especially after Kyrie went down with the injury that cost him the balance of the 2019-20 season. Dinwiddie averaged 20.6 points and 6.8 assists during the full season, both career highs.
Even with the injury, he probably makes the most sense as a trade asset for the Nets, especially if the sellers are not worried about bringing in pieces that can help right away. According to Marc Spears, the Nets are shopping him, with a month to go until the March 25 trade deadline.
The emergence of Bruce Brown, a rangy guard who can defend four positions, helps make Dinwiddie a bit more expendable, as has Landry Shamet's improved play in recent weeks, after a tough start to the 2020-21 season. The most obvious factor, though, is the Harden trade. It is going to be more difficult to find meaningful backcourt minutes in big games, when both Kyrie Irving and James Harden have to play.
Dinwiddie is in the second year of a three-year, $34+ million dollar deal with the Nets. He has a player option for next season, with $12.3 million, and will become an unrestricted free agent in 2022.
The most glaring need for the Brooklyn Nets is interior defense, though the team has played much better on that end of the floor since the Feb. 9 122-111 upset loss to the Detroit Pistons. They've won eight straight games since, sweeping a very tough five-game road trip out on the West Coast. The team has allowed 116.3 points per game for the whole season, third worst in the NBA, but that mark has been at just 109.5 during the winning streak, which would be seventh in the NBA. If the Nets can play average defense, combined with a historically explosive offense, they're major NBA Title contenders.