The middle is the absolute worst place to be in the NBA. Unfortunately for the Brooklyn Nets, that's where they currently find themselves this 2023-24 NBA season.
As currently constructed, this Nets roster is not capable of competing and making a deep push in the postseason. At best, they should top out as a low-end playoff team. On the flip side, the Nets cannot fully tear down their roster and just embark on a complete rebuild because they don't have any of their own first-round picks for the next four drafts. As such, Brooklyn would want to stay as competitive as it can.
Nonetheless, this Nets squad, led by Mikal Bridges and Cam Thomas, is loaded with role players that other contending teams may desire. Guys like Royce O'Neale, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Dorian Finney-Smith are just some names who could find themselves in the rumor mill for much of the season. The presence of those guys would still keep Brooklyn competitive. But if the Nets are able to recoup some immediate draft capital for their role players, they should make some moves this season.
The question now is, who among these role players should the Nets focus on trading? I think it should be Dorian Finney-Smith.
Why the Nets must trade Dorian Finney-Smith this season
Dorian Finney-Smith is going to be a hot commodity at the trade deadline. He is a quintessential plug and play option who can just about thrive in any system he goes to.
At 6-foot-7 with a near 7-foot wingspan, Finney-Smith brings length and versatility on the defensive side of the floor. As a 38.1 percent three-point shooter over the last five seasons, he rounds out as a terrific 3-and-D wing that almost every team in the league would want.
In 14 appearances with the Nets this season, Finney-Smith is averaging a career-best 11.0 points to go along with 5.4 rebounds. He is shooting 46.3 percent from the field and a career-high 44.8 percent from beyond the arc while draining nearly three triples per contest.
He is also locked in for the next three years at $43.1 million, a value contract that includes a player option for the 2025-26 season.
All things considered, the Nets should have no shortage of suitors for the 30-year-old. With that, the Nets have some leverage in the kind of deal they can get for Finney-Smith. In fact, HoopsHype reported that some teams were willing to offer two first-round picks for the seven-year veteran.
If the Nets are looking to move Finney-Smith eventually, now may be the perfect time to do so where his value is at an all-time high.
Finney-Smith back to Dallas?
Dorian Finney-Smith established his niche in the NBA playing alongside Luka Doncic with the Dallas Mavericks. However, the Mavericks had to let him go in the deal that landed them Kyrie Irving.
Ironically, Finney-Smith is once again being linked to Dallas. The Mavs are still looking for a guy to replace DFS since they traded him last February and so far, Derrick Jones Jr. has answered the call.
Still, the Mavs could still use some more wing depth as they are still thin in those positions. Likewise, Dallas' main weakness right now is there defense — and Finney-Smith was one of the team's defensive anchors when they had the 7th-best defense in the Association in the 2021-22 season. So, what better way to address that than to bring back the man they're trying to replace in the first place?
The Mavericks' draft cupboard is nearly empty, but they do have some intriguing young pieces like Jaden Hardy or Josh Green whom the Nets could develop.