Spencer Dinwiddie

Nets To Hold Spencer Dinwiddie Out Of Restart

Nets team doctors have decided to have Spencer Dinwiddie sit out of the NBA’s restart, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The decision is being made out of an “abundance of caution,” Charania adds, as Dinwiddie recently tested positive for the coronavirus. The Brooklyn guard has confirmed the news in a tweet.

“After another positive test yesterday and considering the symptoms, @BrooklynNets, team doctors and I have decided that it would be in the best interest for me and the team that I do not play in Orlando,” Dinwiddie wrote. “I will be supporting the guys every step of the way!”

Word broke on June 29 that Dinwiddie has been diagnosed with COVID-19. On Sunday night, he said that the sinus pressure headaches he had been getting were “starting to subside,” expressing hope that he could receive medical clearance this week and travel to Orlando with the Nets. However, he admitted that he felt a bit dizzy and weak when using an exercise bike and still hadn’t received the two negative tests he required as part of the NBA’s protocol.

Even if Dinwiddie receives medical clearance in a few days, he’d have to travel to the Walt Disney World bubble separately from his team, which would mean being subjected to a more rigorous quarantine and testing period before being cleared to practice. He’d then have an even shorter ramp-up period than his teammates before seeding games begin on July 30, and may still be dealing with the after-effects of the virus.

As such, it makes sense that the Nets are holding out Dinwiddie, though it creates yet another hole in a roster that has been decimated by injuries, positive coronavirus tests, and opt-outs. Superstars Kevin Durant (Achilles) and Kyrie Irving (shoulder) won’t participate. Nicolas Claxton (shoulder) is also injured, while Wilson Chandler has decided to sit out for family reasons and DeAndre Jordan opted out after contracting COVID-19.

The Nets, who currently hold the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference, may have a hard time holding off the Magic, who are just a half-game behind Brooklyn in the standings. However, the Nets remain in the driver’s seat for a playoff spot, since they have a six-game lead on the Wizards, who have been hit hard by injuries and opt-outs of their own — the club will be without All-Star guards Bradley Beal and John Wall in addition to sharpshooter Davis Bertans.

Brooklyn has reportedly agreed to a deal with Justin Anderson to replace Chandler. Players who test positive for the coronavirus are also eligible to be replaced by substitute players, so the club will be able to sign replacements for both Dinwiddie and Jordan. Any player who is replaced by a substitute player will be ineligible to return this season.

Because Dinwiddie’s absence is related to a positive COVID-19 test, he won’t have to forfeit his remaining salary for the 2019/20 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Spencer Dinwiddie Still Hoping To Join Nets For Restart

A week after word broke that Spencer Dinwiddie had tested positive for COVID-19, possibly jeopardizing his availability for the NBA’s restart, the Nets guard remains hopeful that he’ll be able to accompany his team to Florida, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes.

Dinwiddie tweeted on Sunday night that the sinus pressure headaches he has been getting are “starting to subside.” He admitted that he felt a bit dizzy and weak when using an exercise bike, but suggested he’s trending in the right direction.

“If I can get a negative test (on Monday) then they’re gonna get me back on court Tuesday,” Dinwiddie wrote.

As Dinwiddie explained in a follow-up tweet, his hope is that he’ll get clearance to fly to Florida with the Nets this week, since entering the campus separately at a later date would subject him to a more rigorous testing process and quarantine period.

The Nets have already had DeAndre Jordan opt out of the restart due to a positive coronavirus test, with Wilson Chandler also opting out for family reasons. If Dinwiddie is unable to participate, Brooklyn would be able to sign up to three substitute players. Justin Anderson is expected to replace Chandler, but the Nets haven’t lined up a substitute for Jordan yet.

If Dinwiddie can’t participate, the Nets would also lean more heavily on guard Chris Chiozza, who is on a two-way contract.

“With Spencer, I hope he can play. I hope he feels better,” Chiozza recently said, per Lewis. “But if not, I’ll be ready to take on those extra minutes.”

Dinwiddie Tests Positive For Virus; Orlando Status Uncertain

Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie has tested positive for COVID-19 and his playing status for the league’s restart in Orlando is now uncertain, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.

Dinwiddie had been practicing in New York when he experienced symptoms. Dinwiddie said he had been “diligent” about protecting himself from the virus in recent months. He flew privately to New York and tested negative for the novel coronavirus multiple times after arriving there.

“Originally, we were supposed to be one of the teams to enter into the Orlando bubble early, but training camp got switched back to New York and unfortunately I am now positive,” Dinwiddie said. “Given that I have experienced symptoms, including fever and chest tightness, it is unclear on whether or not I’ll be able to participate in Orlando.”

Dinwiddie plans to remain in self-quarantine and re-evaluate after 14 days, Charania adds.

Brooklyn enters the restart with the seventh-best record in the conference. However, its team has already been depleted by injuries and defection.

Superstars Kevin Durant (Achilles) and Kyrie Irving (shoulder) won’t participate. Nicolas Claxton is also injured, while Wilson Chandler has decided to sit out for family reasons.

Free agent forward Justin Anderson has agreed to sign with the Nets for the remainder of the season but if Dinwiddie can’t play, Brooklyn’s backcourt will take a major hit. In 64 games this season, Dinwiddie averaged 20.6 PPG, 6.8 APG and 3.5 RPG. The Nets did add some depth in that area last week by signing free agent Tyler Johnson.

The NBA announced on Friday that 16 of 302 players had tested positive on June 23. It’s unclear whether Dinwiddie was one of those 16 players or if he tested positive later in the week.

Durant was one of four Nets players to test positive for COVID-19 shortly after the suspension of play in March.

Teams heading to Orlando must submit rosters on Wednesday but they can still replace a player that tests positive for coronavirus or elects not to play, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. The player being replaced would be ineligible to return. In Dinwiddie’s case, it appears that a decision on his status would be made later in the month.

Heat Notes: Free Agent Targets, Butler, Olynyk, Restart

Though adding reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to their exciting roster remains the top goal for the Heat in 2021 summer free agency, they have many other viable options if Antetokounmpo is unavailable or uninterested, according to The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson.

Even with the prospect of a slight decline in the 2021 NBA salary cap due to the coronavirus pandemic causing a league revenue loss, the Heat should still have the cap space to add a maximum-salary free agent next summer to go along their intriguing core of All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, plus developing rookies Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro.

Pacers All-Star Victor Oladipo, who trains in South Florida during the offseason, would be a great fit on the wing along with Butler, Jackson notes. Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, Celtics forward Gordon Hayward, and Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie number among Jackson’s other preferences for free agent additions to the Heat in 2021. Wizards guard Bradley Beal and Thunder guard Chris Paul may be available via trade.

There’s more news out of South Beach:

  • The Heat’s top free agent acquisition of 2019, All-NBA swing man Jimmy Butler, has returned to Miami this week in anticipation of a league restart as Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald reports.
  • With just eight non-playoff games left for the top 22 teams, the Heat have officially clinched a playoff berth, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link). This means that Heat big man Kelly Olynyk will earn a $400K playoff bonus written into his contract.
  • The Heat’s status for the season restart was explored in another piece from The Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman. Production of Heat game broadcasts will be handled away from the games to accommodate COVID-19 personnel restrictions. Center Meyers Leonard, who injured his ankle during the Heat’s last game to this point, on March 11, has recovered and will be ready once play resumes.

Nets Notes: Dinwiddie, Marks, Durant, Harris

Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie has a pointed question for the NBA if it decides to resume its season with just playoff teams, relays Ted Holmlund of The New York Post.

“If we go 16 teams directly to playoffs do those teams get paid more for the risk and carrying this year’s revenue after Corona and China?” Dinwiddie tweeted.

He offered a few more comments in response to fans who replied to the tweet. After someone accused him of viewing the return only in financial terms, he wrote, “Isn’t that what big business is about? I’m a small business that is a cog in the machine of a bigger business lol.” After another claimed that players ceded some of their leverage by admitting they want to play again, Dinwiddie stated, “Yes, the team owners have run a master class in media manipulation.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • After dropping a hint three weeks ago that Kevin Durant might be close to a return, Nets general manager Sean Marks now seems resigned that it won’t happen until next season, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Sources tell Berman that the league hiatus has made it impossible for Durant to maintain the progress he was showing during workouts in late winter. Durant wasn’t in game condition when the season stopped and needed five-on-five scrimmages to reach that point.
  • Talking to Sky Sport New Zealand, Marks said Durant and Kyrie Irving have a chance to add to their legacies if they can bring a championship to Brooklyn, Berman adds in the same story. “That’s what these guys are fighting for now,’’ Marks said. “If you talk to Kevin and Ky, they’ve both won —Kevin’s won two championships, Ky’s won a championship — so now, it’s how do we make this ours, how do we take this to the next level and who do we do it with?”
  • In an interview with Michael Grady of YES Network, Joe Harris called remaining in Brooklyn his “ideal scenario” as free agency approaches. “I look back just over four years ago coming to Brooklyn, getting an opportunity to play here, to learn as a young player to play through my mistakes and be given a niche in this league,” Harris said. “And I’ve always loved New York and I love living in Brooklyn. Obviously, it’s a business at the end of the day and there are things you can’t control a lot of things that go on. My ideal scenario … that’s what it is for me.”

New York Notes: Team Options, P. Jackson, Russell, Dinwiddie

ESPN’s Bobby Marks predicts all 29 players with options will exercise them this offseason, potentially creating a favorable situation for the Knicks, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Huge losses in revenue are expected, even if the season can completed, and a reduction in the salary cap and luxury tax threshold could benefit New York, which holds several team options that it will likely decline.

“If I was the Knicks I would want the cap and tax to crash,’’ Marks said. “It would give them a huge advantage. They can collect the tax money and also have flexibility while few do.’’

The Knicks have a $15MM team option on Bobby Portis and would owe $1MM each to Elfrid Payton, Wayne Ellington, Reggie Bullock and Taj Gibson if they are let go. Marks also notes that New York will be in a group of four teams that will have enough cap room to take advantage if players sign for less than their normal market value.

There’s more from New York City:

  • Phil Jackson was warned not to take the job as Knicks president by writer Charley Rosen, his biographer and longtime friend, Berman adds in a separate story. Rosen was concerned that Jackson would tarnish his legacy by going into a “crazy” atmosphere and believes the failure to find the right coach doomed any chance of success. Rosen also states that Carmelo Anthony could have been a huge star under the triangle offense, but refused to embrace the system. “Carmelo undercut him, telling (Kristaps) Porzingis not to say anything in public about how good the triangle was,’’ Rosen said. “Carmelo refused to run the triangle — which is why Phil re-signed him: There was a lot of pressure from (owner James) Dolan. But if Carmelo would’ve run the triangle, he’d be open on the weakside. … He’d be a killer. He’d be Michael Jordan. He’d be unstoppable. But Melo was catch and shoot and didn’t want to do other things.’’
  • Even though former Nets guard D’Angelo Russell refuses to credit coach Kenny Atkinson with helping him become an All-Star, D-Lo’s time in Brooklyn was positive for both him and the team, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. “Brooklyn was a place that he needed as well as Brooklyn needed him,” said his older brother, Antonio Russell Jr. “They were able to mold each other and build each other up.”
  • Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie is willing to let fans choose his next team, but only if they meet a Bitcoin goal of $24,632,630 on GoFundMe, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. “Shoe companies and endorsers influence team decisions all the time,” Dinwiddie said in explaining the semi-serious offer. “My/our biggest endorsers will always be the fans, so I want to have some fun with this while we’re all under quarantine. I hope no owners/team personnel participate so there’s no impropriety on this one-of-a-kind endorsement deal.”

And-Ones: Japan, Dinwiddie, Tavares, Kobe

Japan’s B.League may serve as a cautionary tale as the NBA weighs whether resuming its season will be possible, writes David Aldridge of The Athletic. As Aldridge details, Japan’s basketball league attempted to resume play in mid-March after suspending play in February, but only got in one weekend of games before the season was canceled for good on March 27.

According to Aldridge, several players and at least one referee contracted COVID-19 following the resumption of the season, and multiple players refused to play any more games.

While Japan’s league didn’t attempt playing in a “bubble” city, all players and teams were practicing social distancing and games were being played without fans in attendance. Former NBA forward DaJuan Summers, who was playing in Japan this season, saw first-hand how the league’s attempt to restart was derailed, and isn’t sure that the NBA will be able to successfully pull it off this summer.

“I understand the risk,” Summers told Aldridge. “I don’t think it’s worth it. I don’t think it’s worth it right now. Of course, we all want see if LeBron (James) and A.D. (Anthony Davis) and those guys are gonna win a Finals. Or if (Giannis) Antetokounmpo is finally going to get to the Finals in the East without LeBron or Kawhi (Leonard) over there stopping him. There’s so many basketball lovers that’s hurting right now. But more importantly, there’s so many people dying.”

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • A Nigerian Basketball Federation official tells Colin Udoh of ESPN that conversations about adding Spencer Dinwiddie to Nigeria’s national team have been going on for about a year, despite the fact that the Nets guard has no obvious connection to the country. Dinwiddie is reportedly trying to acquire a Nigerian passport through naturalization to play for the team in the Tokyo Olympics.
  • Former Hawks and Cavaliers big man Walter (Edy) Tavares told Portuguese website DTudo1Pouco (hat tip to Nicola Lupo of Sportando) that he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a return to the NBA, despite his current long-term contract with Real Madrid in Spain.
  • Family members of four passengers who died in the January helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant have filed wrongful death lawsuits against the companies that owned and operated the aircraft, according to Brian Melley of The Associated Press. Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s widow, previously filed suit against Island Express Helicopters Inc. and its owner Island Express Holding Corp.

Spencer Dinwiddie To Play For Nigeria In Olympics

Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie plans to acquire a Nigerian passport and represent the country in the Olympics, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Dinwiddie’s decision comes after he was left off the list of 44 finalists for Team USA that was released in February.

Dinwiddie will join several other NBA players on the Nigerian team, which is coached by Warriors assistant Mike Brown. Dinwiddie’s teammates will include Al-Farouq Aminu, Josh Okogie, Chimezie Metu and Ekpe Udoh. Nigeria has already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics as the highest-ranked African team at the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

The addition of Dinwiddie will bring some extra firepower to an already-strong team. He was averaging career highs with 20.6 points and 6.8 assists through 64 games before the NBA season was put on hold.

Brown, who was named as Nigeria’s head coach in February, talked recently to Marc J. Spears of The Athletic about the advantages of having the games postponed until 2021.

“It helps from the standpoint of there are a lot of teams that have been together … the players, especially. A lot of countries have players who have grown up playing together on national teams or All-Star teams,” Brown said. “There are a lot of coaches out there that are in charge of programs that they have been a part of for many years. To have another year to grasp, not only the talent level of the team, but the direction the team needs to go and making sure we are able to put the best Nigerian team out there, it’s a welcomed advantage to have a little bit more time for a new guy like myself.”

Nets Notes: Harris, Vaughn, Temple, Dinwiddie

An important decision awaits Joe Harris whenever the offseason finally arrives and the Nets‘ sharpshooter would like a long-term arrangement in Brooklyn, relays Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Harris is headed for free agency and figures to earn a sizable raise after making $7.6MM this season.

“In [an] ideal world, I’d play my whole career in Brooklyn,” Harris said this week in an interview with Ian Eagle of the YES Network. “I came in with [GM] Sean [Marks], even the ownership. It’s just one of those things where you have a close connection with a lot of people that are within the organization. You kind of all came in together. Now I’ve been here for four years and built unbelievable relationships with everybody that’s a part of the organization. It’s amazing just to see where we’ve gone from Year 1 to now. And I obviously want to be a part of that, and a part of it for a long time.”

Harris was just trying to earn a spot in the league when he signed with the Nets in 2016. He has developed into a starter the past two years and led the league in 3-point percentage last season.

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • The NBA’s hiatus is limiting interim coach Jacque Vaughn’s opportunity to prove he deserves the job on a permanent basis, observe Alex Schiffer and Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Vaughn won both games after taking over for Kenny Atkinson, but was immediately presented with the challenge of trying to hold the team together while the league is shut down. “I think I’m very realistic about it,” Vaughn said about his chances of keeping the job beyond this season. “I’ve challenged the guys to make the most of 20 games and, hopefully, it’s more than that. What’s going to happen is going to happen. I’m going to give you all I’ve got. I’ll definitely do that.”
  • As a vice president of the Players Association, Garrett Temple has more than his own situation to worry about, Lewis writes in a separate story. “There is a clause in the [collective bargaining agreement] that stipulates what will happen if the season has to end because of a natural disaster,” Temple explained. “The teams make the most money on the postseasons, which is the reasons why players’ salaries may be cut 20 percent if we don’t play again.”
  • With the Bulls looking for someone to run their front office, Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie jokingly tweeted his interest today, along with a plan to revamp the team.

Nets Rumors: Third Star, Dinwiddie, Coach, Kyrie

In the latest edition of his Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said he believes the Nets have signaled they’ll try to use some of their young talent to trade for a third star this offseason to complement Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

“We could enter a healthy debate here about whether Caris LeVert is that third star, and they may make the decision that he is,” Windhorst said. “But my feel (from) reading the tea leaves, paying attention to what (general manager) Sean Marks has said, and also being aware of some conversations that they had at the trade deadline – which was some sticking the toe in the water on some things – I think that they are going to swing for the fences whenever the offseason comes.”

As Windhorst and guests Bobby Marks and Kevin Pelton note, it’s not clear which stars on other rosters would even available via trade and whether the Nets would be willing to package players like LeVert or Spencer Dinwiddie. Marks and Pelton point out that moving a point guard like Dinwiddie could be somewhat risky, given all the games Irving has missed due to injuries in recent years.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • Windhorst also suggested in today’s podcast that the Nets figure to seek an established head coach who would be comfortable leading a veteran team going all-in on contending. “One of the things that has been expressed sort of through the grapevine – that’s the way I’m going to say it to protect myself from the aggregators – is that Durant and Irving would like a blue chip coach,” Windhorst said. “I don’t know what this says about the way they felt about (Kenny) Atkinson, but they want a big-name coach.”
  • In a subsequent discussion on potential head coaching options for Brooklyn, Windhorst speculates that Tom Thibodeau will receive consideration from both the Nets and Knicks. As Windhorst observes, Thibodeau’s experience as an assistant for Team USA gives him a connection to Durant and Irving.
  • In the latest installment of his player-by-player look at the Nets’ roster, Brian Lewis of The New York Post focuses on Irving, writing that it’s hard to imagine Kyrie’s second year in Brooklyn being as “tumultuous” as year one was. Lewis also doesn’t close the door on the possibility of Irving returning to action in 2019/20 if the season resumes in two or three months.