Eastern Notes: Dinwiddie, Kuzma, Giannis, J. Brown, Hawks

Former Wizards teammates Spencer Dinwiddie and Kyle Kuzma traded a couple barbs back in January after Washington defeated Dinwiddie’s Mavericks, with each casting doubt on the other’s commitment to playing “winning basketball.” Now a member of the Nets, Dinwiddie was asked during an appearance on FanDuel TV (Twitter video link) about that exchange and didn’t hesitate to reignite his beef with Kuzma, questioning whether the Wizards forward has his priorities straight.

“There’s a lot of guys in the NBA that really pour their heart and soul into basketball, are willing to do whatever it takes to win,” Dinwiddie said. “There are a lot of guys that have different things that drive or motivate them. I think if we look at him and the way he approaches life, fame, all that stuff, we can see that his priorities tend to vary. That’s why he dresses the way he does, he approaches basketball the way he does, the comments he makes.

“Like I said with the Draymond (Green) quote, ‘Insecurity is loud.’ You know that you’re there shooting shots to try to get a contract. You’re probably not even a third star really on a good team, because if you were, the Lakers would’ve kept you.”

Several hours later, Kuzma fired back in a Twitter thread, writing that he and the Wizards have “so much real estate on Dinsh–tie island.” Kuzma criticized Dinwiddie for being traded just months after he signed a three-year, $54MM contract in D.C. and suggested that his Nets are only in the postseason because of the pre-Dinwiddie success the team had with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Dinwiddie and Kuzma won’t face each other until sometime next season, but the latest grenades lobbed in their back-and-forth war of words should make things all the more interesting when that happens.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo tells Lori Nickel of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he legitimately considered the possibility of walking away from the NBA due to the mental health toll he was dealing with in 2020. “I had that conversation – yes – with the front office,” Antetokounmpo said. “And, you know, very normally, everybody is looking at me like I was crazy. ‘You just signed the largest contract in NBA history and you want to walk away from the game and all that money?’ … But I don’t care about that. I care about joy. I’m a joyful person.”
  • Jaylen Brown would become eligible for a super-max extension if he makes an All-NBA team this spring, and Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens is hoping that happens, according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic. “I think both Jayson (Tatum) and Jaylen should be on the All-NBA team,” Stevens said. “I think what they’ve done throughout the course of this year — and you asked about Jaylen so I’ll talk about Jaylen in particular — he’s also really played his best basketball, I think, in the last couple of months, and he was an obvious All-Star right out of the gate.”
  • Former Octagon agent Chris Emens has joined the Hawks‘ front office in an advisory role, reports Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic (Twitter link). Emens represented Hawks general manager Landry Fields during Fields’ playing days, Vorkunov notes.
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