The Nets have liked their early returns on Spencer Dinwiddie enough to guarantee his contract for the rest of the season, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn signed the third-year guard last month to a three-year deal with a partial guarantee. He has responded by averaging 5.5 points and 1.8 assists through 12 games and earning a spot in the rotation. He made his first start with the team, and just the second of his NBA career, on Friday. After being traded by the Pistons in June and waived twice by the Bulls during the offseason, Dinwiddie likes the prospect of having a shot at stability. “They say bet on yourself,” Dinwiddie posted Saturday on his Instagram account. “Sometimes in the face of adversity you have to double down. Thank you to the Nets organization. Happy to have a home.”
There’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- Rookie guard Caris LeVert appears to be another gamble that’s paying off, Lewis states in a separate piece. In just his 15th NBA game, LeVert scored 19 points and was a team-best plus-10 against the champion Cavaliers on Friday. The Nets have been happy with the progress of LeVert, who slipped to 20th in the draft after his college career was cut short by a foot injury. “We saw a glimpse of who he can be, who we project him to be,” said coach Kenny Atkinson. “The defensive part of it is obviously the most important, especially on that wing position. We can throw him out there against the Paul Georges and the LeBrons [James], and he did a pretty decent job. The offensive part was a bonus.”
- The Celtics might be interested in Hawks forward Paul Millsap, but only if he guarantees not to opt out of the final year of his contract, according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Atlanta is reportedly listening to offers for the 31-year-old power forward and wants a “quality” draft pick in return. Millsap can opt out of his nearly $21.5MM salary for next season and become a free agent this summer. Washburn speculates that any deal would involve one of the Nets‘ picks that Boston owns plus Amir Johnson and another starter to match salaries. A trade would reunite Millsap with Al Horford, but it would push Horford to center, where he would prefer not to play.
- Celtics guard Marcus Smart is emerging as more than just a defensive force, writes ESPN’s Chris Forsberg. Boston has already exercised its 2017/18 option on the 22-year-old.