Spencer Dinwiddie

Atlantic Notes: Dinwiddie, Hayward, Vegas Odds

Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie is having a breakout season, but no matter how well he performs, he’ll likely be relegated back to his sixth-man role once Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert both return from their respective injuries, Zach Braziller of the New York Post writes.

“If you don’t roll with it, you will be out the league,” Dinwiddie said. “You don’t have a choice. I could be out here trippin’ and I’ll be gone. If you roll with it, we figure it out and I get to stay and sometimes, every so often, I’ll have like a big game.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • If Irving, LeVert, and Dinwiddie can all stay healthy, the Nets have a powerful backcourt rotation that is only matched by few around the league, as Malika Andrews of ESPN.com relays. “We have no idea what our ceiling is because we are not even close to healthy,” Dinwiddie said. “We really have no idea how good we could be. It is encouraging to know that our floor is continuing to rise.”
  • Before he injured his hand, Gordon Hayward was thriving and it was because of the Celtics‘ commitment to ball movement, Steve Bullpett of the Boston Herald writes. Hayward struggled last season in a slightly different on-court environment. “Yeah, if he gave the ball up, it wasn’t coming back,” said president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. “I mean, I think it was everybody trying to figure out like how they could earn their opportunities, and there wasn’t enough to go around to feed everybody.”
  • The first quarter of the season has made Vegas bookmakers more optimistic about the Celtics‘ chances of winning the NBA Finals, Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston explains. Boston is listed as 18-to-1 odds in SuperBook USA’s latest offerings. The team was 40-to-1 a month ago.

Nets Notes: Dinwiddie, Defense, Allen, Carroll

Spencer Dinwiddie has been playing so well in Kyrie Irving‘s absence that he might remain in the starting lineup once Irving returns, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Dinwiddie poured in 30 points in Sunday’s win over the Knicks and has averaged 25.0 points and 6.2 assists per game since becoming a starter. Irving is sidelined until at least Friday with a shoulder impingement, and coach Kenny Atkinson said he will consider using them together as the starting backcourt.

“Kyrie is still learning exactly what we want to do. Spencer’s got a little more corporate knowledge,” Atkinson said. “It’s going to take time for Kyrie to completely understand what we’re doing on both sides of the ball. That being said, for not understanding he’s been pretty darn good. So it just gives us a lot of different options. I think about Spencer playing so well right now, when Kyrie comes back what does that look like? Is Spencer coming to start? You have [Garrett Temple] with the defense. There’s a lot [of options] … which is a good problem to have.”

Dinwiddie started 58 games during the 2017/18 season, then excelled as a sixth man last year, so he’s comfortable with either role. He understands that his place on the team will continue to evolve as Caris LeVert returns from injury later this season and especially when Kevin Durant is healthy enough to play in 2020/21.

“The role just changes, like an amoeba. Sometimes it’s defense, sometimes it’s going to be scoring,” Dinwiddie said. “Obviously usage rate is probably through the roof right now because Kyrie is out, Caris and obviously the monster is going to be back probably next season. For now my job is to do this, and then it’ll shift when they get back.”

There’s more this morning from Brooklyn:

  • The Nets have been successful without Irving because of improvements on defense, Lewis notes in a separate story. Brooklyn has won four of its last five games and is posting a 102.4 Defensive Rating in that span, which ranks fifth in the league. The changes came about after Temple replaced LeVert and Iman Shumpert entered the rotation after being signed last week.
  • Improved play from Jarrett Allen has also lifted the Nets, observes Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. Allen got off to a slow start while adjusting to the addition of DeAndre Jordan, but through 16 games his averages of 10.9 PPG and 9.4 RPG are in line with last season’s.
  • DeMarre Carroll respects the Nets for letting him know he wasn’t in their future plans before free agency began, relays Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Carroll signed with the Spurs after spending two years in Brooklyn. “They just let me know they weren’t going to be able to pay me what somebody else would pay me. All they really had the minimum because they wanted to go out and pursue other guys,” Carroll said. “They went out and got Kevin Durant and Kyrie and DeAndre. They already kind of laid it out before I went into free agency.”

NBA Could Terminate Dinwiddie’s Contract If He Goes Forward With Digital Investment Plan

Spencer Dinwiddie has plans to convert his three-year, $34.4MM contract into a digital investment vehicle that would allow investors to buy a digital token backed by his contract, something that would allow the guard to secure a large upfront payment. The league, which sought outside legal counsel on the matter, is not approving Dinwiddie’s venture for a variety of reasons, as Shams Charania of The Athletic learns.

“At the request of Spencer Dinwiddie and his advisors, we have reviewed a number of variations of their digital token idea,” said Dan Rube, the NBA’s Executive Vice President and Deputy General Counsel. “All of the ideas presented would violate collectively bargained league rules, including rules prohibiting transferring a player’s right to receive NBA salary, gambling on NBA-related matters, and creating financial incentives to miss games.”

The NBA wants to work with Dinwiddie to find common ground, Charania writes. Dinwiddie has met with the league twice over the past month in an attempt to find a resolution that allows him to move forward with his venture. The guard has made several changes to the structure of his investment vehicles that would appease the league and attempted to alleviate concerns about “third-party assignment” or the transferring of his contract, which would violate the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The latest hangup is over Dinwiddie’s 2020/21 player option, which is worth $12.3MM. Token holders would be invested in his decision on that option, though the Nets’ guard recently altered the payout mechanism for investors, reducing the risk to zero should he opt in and giving them potential upside should he opt out. Because of his option, the league views selling the digital token as gambling, since his investors would be potentially wagering millions of dollars on whether he becomes a free agent as well as his availability to play games in the league.

Dinwiddie still plans on moving forward with his venture, as he believes the NBA’s lack of approval is without cause. Dinwiddie carrying out his plan could bring penalties such as a suspension, a fine, or even the termination of his contract, though that would be an extreme measure.

Charania hears from a source that Dinwiddie’s goal is to design a method that can further improve a player’s economic options while adhering to the league’s concerns. The National Basketball Players Association recently release a statement supporting Dinwiddie.

“The NBPA’s mission is to support its members and we are currently assisting Spencer and his business associates in seeking to address the League’s concerns,” the NBPA said in a statement. “Our hope is that a resolution satisfactory to all parties can be achieved.”

For now, the two sides are in a standstill over the combo guard’s plan. Dinwiddie has played in 13 games for Brooklyn, starting two in place of Kyrie Irving. He’s averaging 18.5 points and 4.8 assists per game and the Nets are 5-8 on the season.

Atlantic Notes: Claxton, Porzingis, Ennis, Sixers

Spencer Dinwiddie, speaking after the debut of Nets rookie center Nicolas Claxton on Friday night in a 119-115 victory against Portland, called the 20 year-old the team’s second-most talented player. Claxton, drafted 31st by Brooklyn this summer, scored eight points on three-of-five shooting from the field and pulled down six boards in just 12 minutes of action.

“So, I still believe [starting center Jarrett Allen] is going to be an All-Star, but Nic is the second-most talented player on this team,” Dinwiddie said, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “[First] is [Kevin Durant], either the first or second most talented scorer of all-time. But Nic’s got game. He’s got a chance [to be great].”

Those comments reflect just how high Dinwiddie is on the rookie, considering he apparently has him ahead of Kyrie Irving on his informal list of Brooklyn’s most talented players. Irving, the Nets’ only healthy current All-Star, is averaging 31.9 points, 7.5 assists, and 5.8 rebounds per game for the 4-4 squad.

Meanwhile, Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson lauded Claxton’s defensive awareness: “Just understanding the coverages,” Atkinson noted. “I think one time in the first half we were switching everything and he handled that fantastically. That was part of the reason we drafted him, that he was versatile and could guard five positions, so he proved that.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • As Kristaps Porzingis prepared to suit up last week against the team that drafted him in 2015, The Athletic’s Frank Isola explored the Knicks front office’s alienation of the team’s former franchise player. Trouble began to brew when Porzingis blew off an April 2017 season exit interview with then-team president Phil Jackson and then-GM (now team president) Steve Mills. When pressed about the messy breakup Thursday, Porzingis said, “I’ll probably get in more trouble if I start talking about that stuff.” Isola observes that the Knicks’ returns in the deal have yet to bear much fruit: center DeAndre Jordan joined Brooklyn over the summer, point guard Dennis Smith Jr. was booed in the team’s first home game, and the Knicks have yet to use their two Dallas future first-rounders acquired in the deal.
  • It’s been a season of streaks for the Sixers. After starting out 5-0, the 76ers have lost three straight games on a Western Conference road trip, falling to the fifth seed in the East. Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer posits that the Sixers’ current troubles can be credited to their summer roster overhaul, and that they have too many new faces for continuity at present. New power forward Al Horford and long-term starting center Joel Embiid are still developing their on-court chemistry. When questioned about the team’s recent struggles, Horford observed, “What’s going to help us is the more games we continue to play, the more we get used to playing with one another, everything is going to come together.”
  • Veteran point guard Tyler Ennis made his triumphant return to a basketball game for the Raptors‘ G League affiliate, Raptors 905, 13 months after suffering a gruesome leg injury for Turkish team Fenerbahce. Doug Smith of The Toronto Star has the story and the details on Ennis, who feels that the time off had some unexpected developmental benefits. “I had six, seven, eight months of nothing, so I was able to think, ‘When I get back this is what I want to work on,’ ” Ennis said. “I want to be able to shoot better off the dribble and that’s how we kind of did it, in stages.” Though Smith observes that the parent Raptors could use a third point guard and liked Ennis as far back as the 2014 draft, Ennis is nursing a zen calm about the prospect of a callup: “I kind of just want to let it manifest.”  

New York Notes: Wilkes, DSJ, Durant, Dinwiddie

The Knicks initially expected to fill their second two-way contract slot with undrafted rookie Kris Wilkes, but health problems will prevent the former UCLA wing from joining the team at this point, as head coach David Fizdale confirmed today.

He got ill,” Fizdale said of Wilkes. “He came down with a serious illness. I don’t know what it was but it was pretty severe.”

The Knicks waited until the start of the regular season to sign a second two-way player alongside Kadeem Allen, presumably taking as much time as possible to see if Wilkes might re-emerge as an option. Instead, the team is signing former Grizzlies forward Ivan Rabb to fill that open two-way slot.

Here’s more on New York’s two teams:

  • Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. has signed with Roc Nation for representation, he announced this week (on Twitter). Smith, who will become eligible for a rookie scale extension during the 2020 offseason, will be repped by veteran agent Raymond Brothers, tweets Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal.
  • Appearing on Serge Ibaka‘s YouTube show, Kevin Durant explained why he chose the Nets over Knicks when he decided to make the move to New York as a free agent. “I just liked the organization as far as the direction they were going in — a bunch of young guys that played in the playoffs before,” Durant said, per Marc Berman of The New York Post. “The Knicks players, they‘re good young players but they still need more experience to match where I was in my career. It was nothing major against the Knicks. I just think Brooklyn is further along in the process of being a contender.”
  • Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie left Monday’s meeting with the NBA feeling good about where things stand with what he’s calling his Professional Athlete Investment Token (PAInT), per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “They had four or five comments previously, we got them down to one,” Dinwiddie said. “I think we’re going to get it done. It’s just pending a little more feedback.”

Atlantic Notes: Smart, Raptors, Dinwiddie, Kyrie

The Celtics‘ backcourt has undergone some major changes in recent years, from Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley to Kyrie Irving to Kemba Walker. Through it all, Marcus Smart has been the one constant, having averaged 27 or more minutes per game for Boston for each of the last five seasons.

According to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe, Smart said he sometimes thinks about the possibility of spending his entire career with the Celtics, which is something he’d love to do. As Himmelsbach relays, Smart recognizes that player movement is a big part of today’s NBA, but would like to “be a part of something special” in Boston.

“I’m six years in now, and it feels like yesterday I was drafted,” the Celtics’ guard said. “It is funny to see all the faces I’ve seen come through the organization. But it’s a blessing and I’m blessed to be here still, and that’s rare. Usually guys are gone by now. I’m blessed to still be here.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • While the loss of Kawhi Leonard represented the Raptors‘ most significant roster shakeup this summer, the departure of starting shooting guard Danny Green shouldn’t be overlooked, as Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun writes. “He’s not flashy, his game isn’t very sexy, but I don’t know what he shot, 45% from three? Something crazy like that, at a high clip, played 80 games, played every night, guarded the best players on the other teams and he’s just solid every night,” Fred VanVleet said of Green. “… He didn’t do a lot of preaching and teaching, he just was here and (led) by example and we’ll miss that.”
  • Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie has another meeting scheduled with the NBA today to discuss his plan to “tokenize” his contract, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. The league previously said Dinwiddie’s plan violates the CBA but he views the new meeting as a “good faith” gesture and is hopeful an agreement can be reached, as he tweeted this morning. Meanwhile, Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com offers an interesting look at the specifics of Dinwiddie’s proposal.
  • Kyrie Irving wasn’t thrilled that details of the Nets‘ and Lakers‘ Shanghai meeting with commissioner Adam Silver earlier this month leaked to the press, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “You want to keep those meetings private,” Irving said. “I don’t know how it necessarily materialized into a big story. I don’t know whose notes or who was in there that we can’t depend on to keep a conversation like that in-house.”
  • Speaking of Irving, his former teammate Marcus Morris believes the Knicks‘ locker room will be healthier this season than the Celtics‘ was last season in part because New York doesn’t have a superstar player to cater to. “No knock on Ky, but obviously he’s a superstar, he’s first,” Morris said, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. “Sometimes his emotions were put in front of the team.”

Atlantic Notes: Lowry, Randle, Smith Jr., Dinwiddie

Kyle Lowry‘s contract extension includes a base salary of $30MM that’s fully guaranteed, plus a $500K bonus if he makes the All-Star team, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. The Raptors guard officially signed his extension on Monday. Lowry will make approximately $35MM this season. He’s the first player 33 or older to sign an extension worth $30MM or more as a base salary.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Julius Randle, who signed a lucrative three-year contract with the Knicks this summer, has All-Star aspirations, as he told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. He’ll be looked upon as a go-to scorer and facilitator as a point forward in the offensive scheme. New York hasn’t had an All-Star since Carmelo Anthony, but Randle believes he can end that drought. “I just feel like situation and opportunity. Everything I’ve been through in the past, all the work I’ve put in in the past has prepared me for this opportunity now,” Randle said. “So it’s just a goal of mine. Eventually you feel like you have an opportunity. I feel like I do.”
  • Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. wants to prove he’s a floor leader and not just a scorer, Steve Popper of Newsday writes. Smith is one of several players vying for the point guard job. “I got better at it,” Smith said. “What’s so funny is I don’t even know where the story came from that I’m trying to score all the time. I never got where that came from. I feel like this year we got some really good pieces around us for our team, some guys that can really score the ball, so I feel like it’s easy to set these guys up.”
  • Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie still plans to use his contract as an investment tool despite league objections, but he’s pushed back the launch date, as he detailed on his Twitter account. His original launch date was Monday but he’ll wait until opening night since he still hopes to form a partnership with the league and the NBA is preoccupied with the China controversy. Having been on the ground in China, we are sensitive to what the NBA has been dealing with,” he said. Dinwiddie wants to enable investors to essentially buy shares of his three-year, $34.4MM contract.

Atlantic Notes: Lowry, Brown, Dinwiddie, Prince

Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun writes that while Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry has now spent seven full seasons in Toronto and helped the team bring home its first championship last season, the 33-year-old’s future after this season is up in the air.

Lowry will turn 34 in March, which means that Father Time will be creeping in to add some slippage sooner rather than later. Wolstat suggests that Chauncey Billups is a decent comparable to Lowry and that Billups, also a five-time All-Star, made his last All-Star appearance at age 33.

The Raptors need to add some young talent around Pascal Siakam, and Fred VanVleet, eight years Lowry’s junior, also will be looking for a new, more lucrative deal with the Raptors this summer.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston reports that Celtics guard Jaylen Brown is looking to hire an agent for the first time in his NBA career to represent him in negotiations with Boston on what Brown hopes will be a long-term deal that’ll keep him with the Celtics.
  • Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie sent out an interesting tweet in response to the NBA’s latest take on his plan to convert his contract into a digital investment vehicle. Per Marc Stein of The New York Times, an NBA spokesperson says Dinwiddie’s arrangement “remains prohibited by the CBA,” to which Dinwiddie replied, “This won’t end well lol.”
  • Nets forward Taurean Prince is making a case for a rookie-scale extension, especially with his preseason performance against SESI France Basquete, writes Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Prince, who has been praised all summer by teammates, led the team with 22 points. “It’s just proof that the work I’ve put in and that the coaches have put in and the things we’ve been doing as a team have been working. I’m glad we’ve been able to transfer it over to the game.”

Charania’s Latest: Dinwiddie, Zion, A. Holiday, Ayton

Earlier this morning, we passed along a pair of reports from Shams Charania of The Athletic, who revealed that DeMar DeRozan and the Spurs are discussing a contract extension, while Pascal Siakam is seeking a maximum-salary extension from the Raptors.

Charania’s latest “Inside Pass” round-up at The Athletic includes a few more notes from around the NBA, so let’s round up the highlights…

  • Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie and the NBA met on Thursday to discuss his plan to convert his contract into a digital investment vehicle, sources tell Charania. The NBA had wanted to nix Dinwiddie’s plan, but the point guard insists it doesn’t violate the league’s CBA and intends to move forward with it. According to Charania, the league will reconvene over “potential next steps.”
  • With the NBA instituting a new rule requiring teams to submit accurate height measurements for their players, Charania notes that Zion Williamson‘s height was one of the more notable entries of the last week. The Pelicans‘ power forward came in at just 6’6″.
  • Charania points to Pacers guard Aaron Holiday and Suns center Deandre Ayton as two players who appear to be primed for big sophomore NBA seasons. As Charania explains, Holiday will take over as Indiana’s backup point guard behind Malcolm Brogdon, while Suns officials, coaches, and players have all raved about Ayton’s work ethic leading up to the 2019/20 campaign.

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Dinwiddie, Brown, Tatum

Sixers center Joel Embiid dropped 20 pounds this summer in order to take the pressure off his balky knee, Brian Windhorst of ESPN reports.

“Obviously my knee was bothering me the whole second half of the season and the playoffs,” the Sixers’ star said. “But all I was thinking was what can I do make sure I don’t let my teammates down again or my team. Or the whole city basically. That was to take better of my body.”

Embiid missed 12 games after last season’s All-Star break, mainly due to knee tendinitis. The Sixers will have a load management plan for him, but he expects to play more than the 64 games, Keith Pompey of the Philly Inquirer tweets.

Embiid added that he has more trust in Sixers GM Elton Brand than predecessor Bryan Colangelo, Derek Bodner of The Athletic tweets“With the past GM it wasn’t all that,” Embiid said.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie will meet with league officials this week to discuss his plan to turn his contract into an investment tool, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. The NBA nixed the idea last week but Dinwiddle hopes he can convince the league to reverse its ruling. Dinwiddie wanted to enable investors to essentially buy shares of his three-year, $34.4MM contract.
  • Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown is eligible for a rookie scale extension until opening night but he’s not fretting over negotiations, Nick Goss of NBC Sports Boston writes. “To be honest, I’m not putting too much thought into it,” Brown said. “I’m not losing any sleep over it. I think stuff like that ends up working itself out in the end, or however so. I’m just focused on this season and playing basketball. I think that’s my No. 1 emphasis. Let the chips fall where they may.” He’ll be a restricted free agent next summer if he doesn’t sign an extension.
  • Celtics swingman Jayson Tatum, who played for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup, is hopeful of being on the Olympic roster next summer, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe tweets. “I ain’t got nothing else to do,” Tatum said.