Spencer Dinwiddie

Atlantic Notes: Irving, Dinwiddie, Fall, Simmons

Kyrie Irving‘s interest in playing in New York dates back to at least December, Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie said on a podcast with Shams Charania of The Athletic (hat tip to Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston).

“You could just tell from the conversation that it was a little bit different,” the Nets’ Dinwiddie said. “… Actually, it definitely was December because he made a comment to me, he was like, ‘New York might be real fun next year,’ because I hadn’t signed yet. … That’s when I was first tipped off to the whole thing.” 

Dinwiddie signed an extension with the Nets on December 13 and started developing a strategy to get Irving and Kevin Durant to join him in Brooklyn. He spoke frequently to Irving about the organization, touting the style of play, the training staff and the family-oriented atmosphere that GM Sean Marks has installed.

“Of course I’m going to be like, ‘Bro, (the Nets are) perfect for you,'” Dinwiddie added. “‘And (head coach) Kenny (Atkinson) gonna let you rock.'”

There’s more tonight from the Atlantic Division:

  • Rookie center Tacko Fall will come into camp on an Exhibit 10 contract, but Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge tells NBC Sports Boston that he will be given a chance to earn a roster spot. “Tacko is fun to watch,” Ainge said. “… Guards get in a bind and they just throw the ball up in the air and then Tacko grabs it and tip-toe dunks it into the basket. It just looks like a senior in high school playing against fourth-graders sometimes.”
  • Sixers guard Ben Simmons confirmed on Twitter that he won’t be playing in the FIBA World Cup. He plans to host camps in Australia and train with the national team, but he won’t take part in any games. Simmons expressed an intention to participate in the Olympics next summer.
  • The Raptors have a $2.95MM trade exception that will expire tomorrow, tweets Blake Murphy of The Athletic. It’s left over from the deal that brought Kawhi Leonard from the Spurs last summer.

Eastern Notes: Dinwiddie, Knicks, Olynyk, Mykhailiuk

The Nets enjoyed their most successful free agent period ever this week, agreeing to deals with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and DeAndre JordanThe moves figure to make Brooklyn one of the Eastern Conference’s premier teams next season, one year after the Nets’ made the postseason.

Even with the likelihood that Durant misses most – if not all – of next season, Brooklyn figures to be in the hunt for a top seed. Current Net Spencer Dinwiddie, a crucial part of the franchise’s increased success as of late, reportedly played a major role in recruiting those aforementioned All-Stars.

For the first time, Dinwiddie addressed Brooklyn’s moves, giving a coy response to the nature of recruitment among NBA players today.

“The thing about the NBA, everything you read is plausible,” Dinwiddie said to The Athletic’s Michael Scotto. “And with that being said, obviously, it could’ve happened, it may not have happened.”

With the spotlight now shining on the Nets, Dinwiddie noted that the team expects to be in contention for not just a playoff spot but for a title in the coming seasons.

“Anytime you add two probably top-10 players in the world, multi-time All-Stars, you’re obviously going to get better,” Dinwiddie said. “It’s on the rest of us to kind of help facilitate that transition, and hopefully we can be a very good team next year.”

Check out more Eastern Conference notes:

  • Even with cap space for two max contracts, the Knicks failed to lure any top-tier free agents to New York this summer. Marc Berman of the New York Post opines that the Knicks’ failures warrant an image overhaul of the franchise if it hopes to lure top players in the future.
  • Kelly Olynyk remains a member of the Heat, despite nearly being traded away last week. But the veteran understands that having his name come up in trade rumors is just a part of the game, Chad Klassen of CFJC Today writes. “It’s the business side of the game, fortunate or unfortunate, however you want to look at it,” he said. “But you get paid to do something you love and there’s not much to complain about in this industry, honestly.”
  • The Pistons plan to keep Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk on the roster, thus fully guaranteeing his salary for the 2019/20 season, Ben Stinar of Amico Hoops relays (Twitter link). Mykhailiuk’s minimum-salary contract had a guarantee date of July 5.
  • After suffering a torn Achilles, C.J. Wilcox thought his career was over. At 28 years old, Wilcox – who re-signed this week with the Pacers – is in the midst of a comeback attempt, Robby General of the Indianapolis Star writes.  “Eight months ago, I was done playing basketball after tearing my Achilles,” Wilcox said. “Now I have some level of a contract, which is something to be proud of.”

Eastern Notes: Pacers, Bucks, Sumner, Nets, De Colo

The first-round draft pick the Pacers will send the Bucks in their sign-and-trade deal for Malcolm Brogdon is lottery-protected in 2020, tweets ESPN’s Zach Lowe. And if it doesn’t convey in 2020, it’s lottery-protected for five more drafts after that before becoming unprotected in 2026, Lowe adds. In other words, barring a catastrophe in Indiana, Milwaukee will be getting a pick in the back half of the first round, likely next year.

Meanwhile, Edmond Sumner‘s new three-year deal with the Pacers will be worth $6.5MM, a league source tells Grant Afseth of The Kokomo Tribune (Twitter link). It’s not clear whether all three years will be fully guaranteed, but it sounds like Sumner will be getting more than the minimum.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • A source tells Marc Stein of The New York Times that Spencer Dinwiddie was “at the forefront” of a months-long push to convince Kyrie Irving to choose the Nets over the Knicks — and to push Kevin Durant in the same direction. While DeAndre Jordan spent the last two months of the season with the Knicks, he also came to view Brooklyn as a more favorable destination to team up with Irving and Durant, according to Stein, who says the veteran center “joined the chorus promoting the Nets” in recent days.
  • EuroLeague powerhouse Fenerbahce is in serious pursuit of Raptors RFA guard Nando De Colo, a source tells Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. According to Carchia, De Colo – who last wore an NBA uniform in 2014 – remains focused on getting back into the NBA. But if he doesn’t get an offer he likes within the next couple weeks, it’s possible he’ll sign with the Turkish club, says Carchia.
  • Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype caught up with veteran center Nikola Vucevic to talk to him about his new $100MM contract agreement with the Magic. “I feel rewarded for what I’ve done – not just last season, but what I’ve done throughout all of my years in Orlando,” Vucevic said of his new deal. “It means a lot for the team to reward me with this nice contract. It was important for me to be able to continue [my career] there and I’m glad we were able to agree on a deal that keeps me in Orlando for four more years.”

Stein’s Latest: Durant, Irving, Leonard, Conley

Kevin Durant has long been rumored to end up on the Knicks this summer. Even some within the Warriors’ organization believed that KD would head to the Big Apple, though Marc Stein of the New York Times hears that Golden State’s brass is now cautiously optimistic about convincing Durant to stay.

Durant’s rehab with the Warriors would come with more stability from a logistical standpoint. He would venture on his comeback journey with a staff he’s familiar with rather than entering a new environment in New York or Brooklyn.

The Knicks still desire to sign both Durant and Kyrie Irving, and they have the cap space to pursue both. Stein passes along more on the upcoming offseason in his latest piece:

  • The Nets believe that Irving is leaning toward signing with them. Stein hears that Spencer Dinwiddie has been heavily involved in the recruiting of Kyrie.
  • Most within the league believe the Clippers remain the favorites to sign Kawhi Leonard, Stein writes. The Raptors are not out of the running, as the team up north has a chance to convince Leonard to sign a short-term deal, presumably a two-year contract with a player option on the second year.
  • Many rival teams expect the Grizzlies to trade Mike Conley soon, with the Jazz being the frontrunner. One scenario Stein hears is Utah sending a package headlined by the No. 23 overall pick and a future pick to Memphis in exchange for the point guard.

New York Notes: McCall, White, Dinwiddie, Jordan

Tahjere McCall, who had been on a 10-day contract with the Nets, had that deal expire overnight on Thursday, and has returned to Brooklyn’s G League affiliate in Long Island, the club announced today in a press release. That means that, for now, the Nets will have an open spot on their 15-man roster.

G League forward Okaro White, who has been playing well for the Long Island Nets, might have been a candidate for that final roster spot, but White recently sustained a season-ending ankle injury, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post. McCall will take White’s place on Long Island’s roster, and Brooklyn will have to look elsewhere for a potential 10-day signee.

Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York teams:

  • Speaking to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype (audio link), Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie said he’d be happy to get involved in recruiting free agents this summer. “I would love to do anything that’s within the rules and not considered tampering to get guys to come to Brooklyn,” Dinwiddie said, adding that the club should appeal to star players because it’s a “players-first” organization.
  • It may seem like 11-year NBA veteran DeAndre Jordan has been around forever, but the Knicks center is still only 30 years old. As he prepares to re-enter unrestricted free agency, Jordan wants to push back on the idea that he’s getting old, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. “People think you’re 30 and think you’re old,” Jordan said this week. “I hate that. When I do something athletic, they’re like, ‘Oh my god, he’s so athletic and especially because he’s so old.’ I’ll take that.”
  • After securing one of the most lucrative rookie contracts ever for a second-round pick last summer, Knicks center Mitchell Robinson has continued to cash in off the court, lining up endorsement deals with Nike and several other companies, writes Tommy Beer of Forbes.com.

New York Notes: Dinwiddie, LeVert, Knox, Ntilikina

The Nets are looking forward to having three of their most productive players together for the stretch run, writes Mike Mazzeo of The New York Post. Spencer Dinwiddie will return to action tonight after thumb surgery sidelined him for about a month. The trio of Dinwiddie, D’Angelo Russell and Caris LeVert, who recently came back after missing three months with a dislocated right foot, have only been on the court together for 90 minutes all season.

“D’Lo is obviously playing at a high level. Caris is working his way back into form,” Dinwiddie said. “They’re going to do what they do, and our focus and our sights are set on the playoffs and trying to win as many games as possible, trying to be that team that not only makes it but strikes a little fear into some of those top seeds’ heart.”

Dinwiddie will be available for back-to-back games, coach Kenny Atkinson said, but his minutes will be limited at first and will gradually increase. The Nets were 6-8 while he was injured.

There’s more NBA news out of New York:

  • LeVert doesn’t want to blame the injury for the struggles he has encountered since returning, Mazzeo relays in a separate story. The Nets guard was off to a career-best start before getting hurt, averaging 18.4 PPG in his first 14 games. In the seven games since coming back, his scoring has dropped to 8.9 PPG. “Three months is a long time to be out, but I don’t want to put it all on the injury,” LeVert said. “I feel like I could have had better energy and defensively and maybe sparked something offensively. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it was.”
  • Knicks rookies Mitchell Robinson and Allonzo Trier continue to exceed expectations, but first-round pick Kevin Knox‘s shooting woes are concerning, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Knox has hit just 5-of-28 shots in his last two games, continuing a problem that caused him to lose a starting job in the preseason. “I want him to stay aggressive,” coach David Fizdale said. “We’re not going to get caught up in the percentages right now. He’s taking shots he can make. So keep taking them.’’
  • After missing more than a month with a strained groin, Frank Ntilikina may return during a three-game road trip, Berman adds in another story. Ntilikina could be cleared for practice tomorrow, which would mark the first time he has played alongside Dennis Smith Jr. Ntilikina had taken over the Knicks‘ starting point guard role before being sidelined, but that position now belongs to Smith.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/28/19

Here are Thursday’s assignments and recalls from across the NBA G League:

Atlantic Notes: Dinwiddie, C’s, Baynes, Knicks

As they fight to hang onto the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, the Nets will get some rotation reinforcements this week. According to Michael Scotto of The Athletic (via Twitter), head coach Kenny Atkinson said today that injured guard Spencer Dinwiddie is set to return to the court for Brooklyn on Friday.

Dinwiddie, who last played for the Nets on January 23, underwent surgery a month ago to repair torn ligaments in his right thumb. At the time, the estimated timeline for his recovery was three to six weeks, so he’s ready to get back right in the middle of that window.

Dinwiddie and veteran forward Jared Dudley were assigned to the Long Island Nets, Brooklyn’s G League affiliate, today in order to get some practice time in, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Both players are expected to suit up for the NBA club on Friday vs. Charlotte.

Here are a few more items from around the Atlantic:

  • While Danny Ainge acknowledged during a Toucher & Rich radio appearance on Thursday that “everybody has some fault” in the Celtics‘ struggles this year, the club’s president of basketball operations offered a strong defense of his head coach. “There’s blame to share for everybody, but I will say this: He’s the least, by far, of anybody that there is to blame,” Ainge said of Brad Stevens (link via Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston).
  • Aron Baynes, who has been sidelined with a left foot injury since the start of February, appears to be almost ready to play, Stevens said on Wednesday, per Taylor Snow of Celtics.com. “I would say that Friday is unlikely,” Stevens said of Baynes’ return date. “But beyond that, I think he could play any time in the days after that depending on how he comes out of (Wednesday’s) workout.”
  • Knicks fans – including Spike Lee – may be happy to see the team embrace the tank and improve their draft lottery position, but losing games isn’t head coach David Fizdale‘s goal the rest of the way, as Steve Popper of Newsday writes. “I’m lucky because Steve [Mills] and Scott [Perry] and Mr. [James] Dolan have all said to me, you play every game to win and you don’t worry about where we land in the draft and all of that stuff,” Fizdale said.
  • Although the Sixers are missing a couple big men and have Justin Patton for Thursday’s game, the young center probably won’t play, head coach Brett Brown told reporters today (video link via Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer). We had more on Patton and the 76ers in an earlier round-up.

Injury Updates: Howard, Capela, Dinwiddie, Hayward

The Wizards‘ big free agent signing of the 2018 offseason hasn’t worked out as planned so far, as health issues have limited Dwight Howard to just nine games this season. However, Howard – who underwent surgery on his spine in November, appears to be making progress toward a return.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter), Howard is scheduled to return to Washington today to begin on-court work. With the Wizards’ playoff hopes on life support, the team could use the veteran center back in its lineup to provide rebounding and low-post scoring down the stretch. As Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington notes though, it’s still not clear whether Howard is ready to participate in full practices or when he might be able to play in a game.

Here are a few more injury-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Rockets center Clint Capela returned to practice on Tuesday after missing 15 games with a thumb injury, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com. According to MacMahon, Capela is on track to get back in Houston’s lineup on Thursday, assuming he doesn’t have any setbacks this week.
  • Spencer Dinwiddie, who continues to recover from a thumb injury of his own, still doesn’t have a set timeline for his return, according to Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. As Brian Lewis of The New York Post details, Atkinson wouldn’t confirm that he expects Dinwiddie back on the court for Brooklyn’s upcoming 17-day road trip, which begins on March 13.
  • Gordon Hayward twisted his ankle in a Tuesday workout, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said today to reporters, including Adam Kaufman of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter link). While that sounds like concerning news on the surface, particularly given Hayward’s strong recent play, Kaufman notes that the injury is to the forward’s right ankle, not his surgically repaired left ankle. He’s considered day-to-day.

Nets Notes: Russell, Kurucs, Musa, Marks

As Brian Lewis points out for The New York Post, Nets GM Sean Marks didn’t offer D’Angelo Russell a contract extension in October mainly because he wanted to see if the young point guard could prove himself to be a go-to option and leader. So far, so good on that end as Russell has stayed healthy this season and is averaging career highs of 20.3 points and 6.6 assists per game going into his first All-Star game appearance.

Russell has been the leading force on a Nets team that is surpassing expectations, having already won more games (30) than they did all of last season (28). Russell’s improvements have coincided with steady improvement from Joe Harris, Jarrett Allen, and Spencer Dinwiddie, with veterans and rookies contributing in other spots as well.

The Nets will now look to build on their strong record and claim their first playoff spot since 2015, as Russell will look to lead the way and play his way into a big contract this summer.

There’s more on the Nets: