Spencer Dinwiddie

Pistons Interested In Spencer Dinwiddie

With the NBA trade deadline approaching, the Pistons are one of several teams interested in Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie, according to SNY’s Ian Begley.

Dinwiddie, 27, is currently sidelined with a partially torn ACL, having undergone ACL reconstruction surgery in early January. There was some optimism that Dinwiddie may be able to return later this season, but the Nets appear prepared to finish the 2020/21 campaign without him.

The Nets are expected to be active on the buyout market and seek additional upgrades to the roster. Dinwiddie could hit free agency this upcoming offseason given his $12.3MM player option for the 2021/22 campaign.

While Dinwiddie struggled in three games before his injury this season, he averaged 20.8 PPG and 6.8 APG for the Nets in 64 games last season. Therefore, he could be a valuable piece to a team in the future despite the nature of his injury.

As Begley notes in his report, if Dinwiddie were to be traded, the team that acquires him would likely want to sign him beyond this season. The Pistons project to have cap room this summer, so Dinwiddie’s Bird rights wouldn’t necessarily be as valuable to them as they would be to some other clubs.

While it is a concern that this is Dinwiddie’s second ACL tear, players in recent years have generally made full recoveries from the injury and have been productive upon their return.

Eastern Notes: Dinwiddie, T. Harris, Markkanen, Sampson

The Nets are “shopping” injured guard Spencer Dinwiddie, Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated said during an appearance on ESPN’s The Jump on Thursday (video link via Billy Reinhardt of NetsDaily).

Dinwiddie, who suffered a partially torn ACL near the start of the season, has been pushing to make it back before the end of the playoffs, but is considered likely to be sidelined for the rest of 2020/21. Since he has the ability to opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, his appeal on the trade market would be limited, but the opportunity to acquire his Bird rights may intrigue certain clubs, and his $11.45MM cap hit could be useful for salary-matching.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN (Insider link) observes, one downside of moving Dinwiddie for the Nets would be that the team would lose its $5.7MM disabled player exception, assuming that exception hasn’t already been utilized. The club has until April 19 to use that DPE, but it would forfeit it if Dinwiddie is traded.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Sixers forward Tobias Harris left Thursday’s game early after hurting his left knee, but he appears to have avoided a serious injury. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link) and Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, an MRI showed no structural damage, confirming that Harris suffered a knee contusion. He’ll miss Saturday’s game vs. Cleveland will be re-evaluated in a couple days, per the team.
  • The Bulls have played some of their best basketball this season with Lauri Markkanen unavailable, going 5-9 with the power forward in the lineup and 10-7 without him. However, head coach Billy Donovan still believes that the injured Markkanen is an “important piece to our team,” as Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times writes. Markkanen will be eligible for restricted free agency at season’s end.
  • JaKarr Sampson has been ruled out for Friday’s game due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, making him the first Pacers player to miss a game due to the COVID-19 protocols this season, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Sampson hasn’t been a regular part of Indiana’s rotation this season, averaging just 6.0 minutes per game in 13 contests.

Nets Notes: Durant, Irving, Harden, Dinwiddie

Kevin Durant‘s return to Golden State was much friendlier than anyone could have imagined when he left the team two years ago, writes Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic. Although there were no fans Saturday to welcome him back because of COVID-19 restrictions, the organization played a tribute video, followed by a standing ovation from members of the front office. After the Nets posted a lopsided victory, Durant greeted everyone on the Warriors‘ bench.

“Kevin came here and gave us three years of just incredible basketball,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “The least we could do is welcome him back with open arms. I think everybody was genuinely happy to see him, obviously, healthy and playing at such a high level again. That’s the main thing. The guy gave everything to us for three years and then left with a devastating injury. So there should be a lot of love for him. He did so much for us.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • A month into their partnership in the Nets’ backcourt, Kyrie Irving and James Harden have worked out a new arrangement, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Irving decided this week that Harden should take over the point guard role, and the former MVP responded with 16 assists Saturday night. “(The talk) went quick, it went professionally and we looked at each other in agreement and James was like, ‘OK, I’m the point guard and you’re the shooting guard,’” Irving said. “It’s easy to play off somebody that’s willing to complement your game and ready to sacrifice and it’s easy to do. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity.”
  • Spencer Dinwiddie offered an update on his rehab from a partially torn ACL in an Instagram post Saturday, relays Kristian Winfield of The New York Daily News. The Nets received a Disabled Player Exception for Dinwiddie’s injury, but he says he’s far ahead of schedule and hasn’t given up hope of playing again this season. “I share his sense of optimism for him being back playing, being as good as he ever was. But I certainly don’t want to put any undue pressure, unrealistic expectations on him returning this season,” coach Steve Nash said. “My No. 1 concern with Spencer is long-term health and ability to play and finish his career at a really high level. That to me is way more important than trying to rush him back for our own self-interest here.”
  • A NetsDaily story examines whether Brooklyn would still be interested in Hawks forward John Collins after being involved in trade talks for him last season.

Nets Notes: Atkinson, Dinwiddie, Pelle, Big Three

Former Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson will hardly recognize his old team when he sees them for the first time since being fired, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. After reportedly being considered for several head coaching jobs, Atkinson caught on as an assistant with the Clippers, who make their only visit of the season to the Barclays Center tonight.

Atkinson led the Nets back to respectability during his nearly four years with the team. He was fired last March in a surprising move, reportedly because of an inability to relate to star players. With Kevin Durant now healthy and James Harden acquired in a trade, Brooklyn’s future is based around stars.

“He’s done a great job everywhere he’s been,” said Clippers coach Tyronn Lue. “Player development was always a strong suit in how he developed these young guys and other players; we’ve seen how good they’ve gotten.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • It would be surprising if Spencer Dinwiddie ever plays for the Nets again, contends Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. In a column with Danny Leroux discussing Brooklyn’s roster options, Schiffer notes that Dinwiddie may be tempted to opt out of his $12.3MM salary for next season and test the free agent market. Dinwiddie is expected to miss the rest of the year after ACL reconstruction surgery, but some teams still may be interested in trading for him, according to Schiffer and Leroux.
  • Norvel Pelle‘s new deal is a minimum-salary contract with several guarantee dates, tweets Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. This season will become guaranteed at the league-wide date on February 24, while next season is fully non-guaranteed. Pelle would receive $150K if he’s still on the roster 30 days after the offseason moratorium is lifted, and $250K on opening night.
  • Because of injuries, Durant, Harden and Kyrie Irving have only played together four times since Brooklyn’s Big Three was formed, but Zach Kram of The Ringer believes coach Steve Nash already has an ideal minutes distribution worked out. Charting their playing time so far, Kram finds that either Harden or Irving has been on the court for every minute of close games when they’ve both been available, and the Nets usually have at least two of their stars playing at the same time whenever all three are active.

Nets Granted Disabled Player Exception

The Nets have been granted a disabled player exception following the loss of Spencer Dinwiddie, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Dinwiddie underwent ACL reconstruction surgery after suffering a partially torn ACL early in the season.

A cap exception designed to give teams extra flexibility when a player suffers a season-ending injury, the disabled player exception can be used to sign a free agent, to claim a player off waivers, or to acquire a player in a trade. The Nets’ new DPE has a value of $5,727,024 – half of Dinwiddie’s $11,454,048 salary for 2020/21 – so any player signed or acquired with the exception can’t be earning more than that amount (plus $100K).

The exception can only be used on a single player and can only accommodate a player on a one-year deal. A free agent signee can’t get a multiyear contract, and any trade or waiver target must be in the final year of his contract.

[RELATED: 2020/21 NBA Disabled Player Exceptions]

While the DPE doesn’t create an extra roster spot for a team, that’s not an issue for the Nets, who currently have three openings on their 15-man roster. Norvel Pelle will reportedly fill one of the three, but that still leaves two available.

Since the Nets also still have the full taxpayer mid-level exception ($5.718MM) on hand, the DPE may end up being more useful on the trade market. Brooklyn will have until April 19 to use it.

Latest On The James Harden Deal

The Nets are counting on star power to make them a title contender after shipping away much of their depth in the James Harden trade, writes Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. While Brooklyn now has two former MVPs in Harden and Kevin Durant, the move came at the cost of Caris LeVert, an explosive young scorer, and Jarrett Allen, who has been outplaying starting center DeAndre Jordan all season.

Veteran big man Jeff Green, one of the leaders of the now-depleted reserve unit, doesn’t believe the deal for Harden means the team is starting over.

“It’s just one guy that we have to integrate and get acquainted with what we’re trying to accomplish and what we’re doing on the floor, and I’m pretty sure he’ll pick it up fast,” said Green, who was Harden’s teammate for part of last season in Houston. “We’re going to do what we’ve got to do to make sure he’s aware of the spots and what we’re looking for. He’s going to do what he does best. I think it will be good for us, but I don’t look at it as a restart. It’s just another juice of energy that we’re going to get from him being on the floor and being part of this team.”

There’s more news related to the trade:

  • Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks said the uncertain situation surrounding Kyrie Irving had nothing to do with the deal, tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. Marks added that Irving is excited to rejoin the team, although he didn’t say when that will happen. Marks indicated that more moves are coming, adds Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link). “Without a doubt the roster is not done, it’s not finalized,” Marks said. “We’ll continue to try and add pieces as we go through this season.” The Nets currently have three open roster spots.
  • The Nets wanted to give up Taurean Prince rather than Spencer Dinwiddie for financial reasons, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic. Dinwiddie may miss the rest of the season after having ACL reconstruction surgery last week, so he won’t be able to contribute to a team that’s built to win a title right away. However, Brooklyn was determined to get rid of Prince’s $13MM contract for next season. Hollinger explains that the Nets are already facing potential luxury tax payments between $70MM and $80MM for 2022, and keeping Prince on the roster could have added up to $50MM to that total.
  • By trading Victor Oladipo for LeVert and a second-round pick, the Pacers are able to avoid a difficult free agency decision this summer, Hollinger notes in the same story. While Oladipo is in the final year of his contract, LeVert is signed for two more years at $17.5MM in 2021/22 and $18.8MM in 2022/23. Hollinger points out that Indiana now has four starters in their 20s who are all under contract through 2023, along with T.J. Warren, whose deal expires in 2022. The Pacers were slightly over the tax line before the deal, but Hollinger adds that they can now use their full mid-level exception this summer without any tax concerns.
  • The Celtics never made a serious bid for Harden, tweets Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports. “We had conversations regarding James, but not recently,” president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said on a radio show this morning. “… It was just something that we didn’t want to do … Unanimously we decided it wasn’t the time for us.”

Nets Notes: Irving, Durant, Fertitta, Shumpert

Now that a new Big Three is together in Brooklyn, Kyrie Irving will likely be asked to sacrifice to make it work, two NBA scouts told Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Today’s trade that reunites James Harden with Kevin Durant gives the Nets three elite offensive players, but they may not fit together smoothly.

“On paper obviously that team wins the East and probably the whole thing,” said Bryan Oringher, a former scout with the Raptors, Hawks and Wizards. “But it all depends if they’re willing to do a Warriors-type thing and all sacrifice. (Harden’s) obviously incredible, but none of them seem super happy without the ball.”

Irving missed a fifth straight game tonight for personal reasons, and his absence could be extended if the NBA decides he has to quarantine when he returns to the team, Lewis adds. Coach Steve Nash refused to address specifics about Irving during a session with the media.

“I haven’t had an opportunity to know any new details about Kyrie’s situation,” Nash said. “So I’ll just rely on the front office to learn more as we go. They’re the ones that are going to do the messaging on that front.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Durant couldn’t talk directly about the Harden deal after tonight’s game because it’s still not official, but he did speak briefly about his previous experience with Harden in Oklahoma City, saying, “It was fun,” Lewis tweets. “I’ve heard that that’s not even finalized yet, so I’ll talk about it another time,” Durant added (Twitter link).
  • Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta wasn’t impressed by the players the Nets were offering, such as Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie, who is sidelined with a torn ACL, Lewis adds in a separate story. That explains why Allen wound up in Cleveland and LeVert was sent to Indiana, while Houston acquired Victor Oladipo and a parcel of draft picks.
  • Today’s trade leaves the Nets with three open roster spots, and free agent Iman Shumpert could be worth considering, writes Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. Shumpert played 13 games for Brooklyn last season and brought a strong defensive presence to the team. He briefly played alongside Harden in Houston, and was a teammate of Irving and Joe Harris in Cleveland.

Spencer Dinwiddie Undergoes ACL Reconstruction Surgery

Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie underwent successful ACL reconstruction surgery on his right knee this morning, the team announced today in a press release. Dinwiddie, who is expected to make a full recovery, will begin his rehab process next week, according to the Nets.

Dinwiddie suffered a partially torn ACL on December 27 in Brooklyn’s third game of the 2020/21 season. The veteran guard hadn’t gotten off to a particularly hot start, but the Nets enjoyed blowout wins in his only two full games and have since lost four of five, slipping below .500. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot has replaced Dinwiddie in the starting lineup.

The Nets’ announcement today doesn’t mention a specific recovery timeline for Dinwiddie. Because he only sustained a partial ACL tear, there was some speculation that an accelerated return may be possible. However, the fact that he underwent an ACL reconstruction – rather than a repair – likely eliminates any chance that the 27-year-old will play again in 2020/21, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Brooklyn has the option of applying for a disabled player exception that would be worth approximately $5.7MM. It wouldn’t give the Nets an extra roster spot, but would allow them to sign a free agent to a one-year contract or to trade for (or claim) a player on an expiring contract, assuming his salary fits into the DPE.

John Hollinger of The Athletic speculated earlier today that the Nets may not apply for that exception right away, since there’s no rush to use it and the team might have an easier time a few weeks from now proving that Dinwiddie will likely miss the entire season and postseason.

New York Notes: Ntilikina, Dinwiddie, Chiozza, Bullock

A rash of backcourt injuries have allowed 6’5″ combo guard Frank Ntilikina to become the primary option at backup point guard for the Knicks, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post.

Rookie Immanuel Quickley bruised his hip in the Knicks’ season opener, Dennis Smith Jr. will be missing all of the club’s current four-game road trip due to a bruised quadriceps muscle, and veteran off-guard Austin Rivers has yet to suit up for New York as he deals with a pulled groin.

Ntilikina has been striving to improve his jump shooting during this young season. “Working [on it] is the key,” he said. “The answer to probably everything in this game is probably work and just treat it with confidence.”

There’s more out of the Empire State:

  • With guard Spencer Dinwiddie likely out for the season due to a partially torn ACL, some league executives weighed in on whether or not he will pick up his $12.3MM player option with the Nets for the 2021/22 NBA season, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Dinwiddie released a statement on his Instagram page, expressing his hope to beat the odds as he works to recover from this latest knee issue.
  • Two-way Nets guard Chris Chiozza is currently the biggest rotational beneficiary of Dinwiddie’s absence, according to Mollie Walker of the New York Post. “You never want to see your teammate get hurt and praying for Spencer, we’re here for him, hopefully he makes a speedy return,” Chiozza said. “He’s a big part of this team. While he’s out, we take it, everybody takes it, to do a little bit more than we’ve been doing, collectively.”
  • After battling health issues for much of his 2019/20 season with the Knicks, veteran swingman Reggie Bullock has managed to contribute on both sides of the court to the injury-depleted club this year, according to Steve Popper of Newsday. “Well, his defense has been terrific,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “So just watching him move on the court he’s obviously not laboring like he did last year. I think health is the big thing and he’s been a good pro wherever he’s been.” Bullock just poured in 17 points in almost 41 minutes to help the Knicks beat the Cavaliers tonight, 95-86. He connected on five of his nine three-point attempts.

Rockets Notes: Harden, Dinwiddie, Tucker, Silas

Spencer Dinwiddie‘s partial ACL tear further reduces the odds of the Nets and Rockets working out a trade involving James Harden this season, in the view of Matt Young of The Houston Chronicle, who notes that Dinwiddie and his $11.5MM salary likely would’ve been a key part of any package Brooklyn could put together.

Dinwiddie’s injury doesn’t mean he can’t be traded, but it significantly diminishes his value, since he can reach free agency in 2021 and may not play another game on his current contract. Still, ESPN’s Zach Lowe suggested during his Monday episode of The Lowe Post that the Dinwiddie injury doesn’t really change the Nets’ and Rockets’ outlook for Harden, since the two teams had made no progress toward a deal anyway.

“Spencer Dinwiddie’s health did not make or break the Nets’ ability to get James Harden,” Lowe said, per RealGM. “It’s unclear to me, frankly, if those teams have had anything resembling a serious conversation about James Harden. Let’s make that clear. I don’t sense that there’s been hardly any traction there at all. And maybe the way the Nets started had them thinking ‘Why are we messing with this?'”

Here’s more on Harden and the Rockets:

  • Harden, who has averaged 39.0 PPG and 12.5 APG on .595/.500/.920 shooting in his first two games of the season, has provided the Rockets with a reminder of why it doesn’t make sense to trade him for “50 or 60 cents on the dollar,” writes Kelly Iko of The Athletic.
  • The Rockets will remain shorthanded on players until Wednesday and haven’t been able to conduct a full practice in about a week, but P.J. Tucker doesn’t think the team should view that as excuse for a slow start, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “It’s our jobs to play basketball. This happens,” Tucker said. “Guys go down with injuries, guys go down for being sick, guys go down for family issues. You miss guys all the time. It just makes it next man up. It’s an opportunity to go out and play.”
  • Stephen Silas reportedly wasn’t Harden’s first choice when the Rockets were searching for a new head coach this offseason, and his hiring may have even contributed to the former MVP’s decision to request a trade. However, Harden likes what he has seen from Silas so far, as Mark Medina of USA Today writes. “He did a great job,” Harden said of his new coach after the team’s first game on Saturday. “Very confident, knew what he was drawing up and knew where to put his guys at.”