Spencer Dinwiddie

Kyrie Irving Isn’t Demanding Changes Before Trade Deadline

Nets guard Kyrie Irving clarified comments he made earlier in the week and insisted he wasn’t pressuring the front office to make significant changes before next month’s trade deadline, Malika Andrews of ESPN reports. However, he did hint that changes need to be made in the long run in order to become a serious title contender.

Irving said on Friday that in his previous comments he was simply giving a forthright assessment of the team’s current plight. Brooklyn is four games below .500 and currently sits in the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.

“I think we have championship aspirations,” Irving said. “Do we want to be the eighth seed going into the playoffs? The seventh seed? But you’re able to be real with the team that you have here, and you’re able to collectively, cohesively come together as a group. That is what you figure out. But the goals are still to win a championship. I don’t come in every day to be mediocre or to be in the middle of the standings.”

Irving told the media on Wednesday after back-to-back losses that the team’s weaknesses were “glaring” and that additional pieces were needed in order to reach the next level. At the time, Irving named Kevin Durant, DeAndre Jordan, Garrett Temple, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert as key pieces but left out other rotation players, including Jarrett AllenTaurean Prince, and Joe Harris.

Irving spoke with teammates about those comments and said that players he failed to mention was just an oversight on his part. However, he does believe the roster as currently constructed won’t be enough to put the Nets over the top.

“I reached out to make sure nothing was taken out of context — making sure that the guys knew exactly what I meant,” Irving said. “And that is the only thing that matters. Everyone can say, ‘If I was in this position, I would’ve said this, I would’ve done this.’ … The most important thing is making sure these guys — they have the belief in themselves and I continue to reiterate that confidence we have as a team. It is going to come down to that in order to be at a championship level to compete against the West, we need more.”

Nets Notes: Dinwiddie, Irving, Durant, Luxury Tax

Spencer Dinwiddie was confident last season that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant were coming to Brooklyn, former Nets teammate Ed Davis tells Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Davis, now with the Jazz, said Dinwiddie began talking about landing the star free agents before last year’s All-Star break.

“Spence knew,” Davis said. “My locker was right next to Spencer’s too so we used to talk all the time. And he was saying that early. So we knew it was a good chance.”

Bondy notes that Dinwiddie may have diminished his own role in Brooklyn by recruiting Irving. Dinwiddie was putting up All-Star numbers while Irving was sidelined with a shoulder impingement, but they will now share playmaking duties.

“We’re just going to go with the flow,” Dinwiddie said. “We’re just going to go with whoever is hot in the moment.”

There’s more from Brooklyn:

  • Echoing comments earlier this week from general manager Sean Marks, Nets owner Joe Tsai told Brian Lewis of the New York Post that he’s willing to pay the luxury tax in order to compete for a title. “I think the fans expect that we win a championship. And the good thing is I believe that we do have the pieces in place,” Tsai said in a YES Network interview. “Now we have some injuries and people are coming back. But the fundamental pieces are in place to perhaps go all the way, so I’m absolutely comfortable that if we pay the luxury tax, that’s fine.” Lewis points out that the Nets are slightly below the $143MM cap threshold for next season, but that figures to change once they re-sign Joe Harris and fill out the roster.
  • Durant answered fans’ questions on Twitter this week about his recovery from a ruptured Achilles, Lewis adds in the same story. Durant discussed the “everyday grind” of rehab and how difficult it is to be away from the game. “It gets better everyday, but (it’s) good to have patience,” he tweeted.
  • Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot returns to Philadelphia tonight in a stable situation for the first time since the Sixers traded him in 2018, observes Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. Luwawu-Cabarrot is on a two-way contract with Brooklyn and has helped the team stay afloat through injuries. He has about a week left on his 45-day NBA limit, leaving the Nets with a decision about whether to give him a standard contract to keep him on the main roster.

New York Notes: Knicks, DSJ, Irving, Dinwiddie

Two people in touch with the Knicks within the last few days have said that the team remains opposed to moving a future first-round pick in any trade scenario, reports Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

Begley cautions that the stance could be posturing on the Knicks’ part, but I’d personally be pretty surprised to see New York trade a first-rounder in the coming weeks. The only scenario in which it would make sense would be if the club could land a player who is under contract for multiple years and projects to be a long-term building block.

The Knicks were recently linked to Andre Drummond. Reports since then have downplayed those talks, but Begley has suggested they were more than just exploratory discussions. Even if they were serious about a Drummond scenario, it’s not clear if the Knicks would have to give up a first-round pick, given the big man’s uncertain contract status beyond this season.

Here’s more out of New York:

  • Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. missed his ninth straight game due to a oblique strain on Sunday and there’s still no clear timetable for his return, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. However, Smith is enthusiastic about the progress he has made. “It’s actually faster (than I expected),” Smith said. “I heard with oblique strains, it can be two months. I’m actually coming along fast. I’m going through the process. I’m feeling better.”
  • Kyrie Irving looked good on Sunday in his return for the Nets, making 10-of-11 shots from the floor in 20 minutes and helping lead the team to a blowout win. As Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes, Irving said it was “good to be back” on the court. “It was a long road back, man,” Irving said. “A lot of questions I had to answer; just health for my shoulder, longevity, what would’ve been the best option for my health long term.”
  • Spencer Dinwiddie played a starring role for the Nets in Irving’s absence, but is happy to give up some of his scoring and play-making responsibilities now that his backcourt mate is healthy. “I’d rather average 21 and win at a high level [compared to] 25 and getting my head cracked every night,” Dinwiddie told Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. “I don’t view his coming back as, ‘Now I’m gonna average two points a game.’ I’ll still be productive. It gives our group a chance to win a lot more games.”
  • Nets forward Rodions Kurucs acknowledged that his legal issues have impacted his performance on the court this season, Lewis writes for The New York Post. Kurucs, who was accused of domestic assault, has had a reduced role in 2019/20 and has been up and down when he’s played.

Spencer Dinwiddie Set To Launch Digital Investment Vehicle

After several months of back-and-forth with the NBA, Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie is set to launch his digital investment vehicle on January 13, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic. Dinwiddie confirmed the news on his Twitter account.

We first heard nearly four months ago that Dinwiddie intended to turn his current NBA contract into a digital investment vehicle. The plan was for investors to secure a “Dinwiddie bond” in the form of a digital token and eventually be paid back the principal amount with interest. The veteran guard would be giving up some future income on his three-year, $34MM+ deal with the Nets in order to secure smaller lump sum payments up front, which he could then immediately invest.

The NBA objected to Dinwiddie’s plan, arguing that it violated the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. So, as Charania explains, Dinwiddie is no longer tying the platform specifically to his NBA contract and has removed from the league’s likeness and name from the digital token. He has turned it into what he “believes to be a safe and secured investment bond,” sources tell Charania.

While Dinwiddie and his camp are confident that the new plan will appease the NBA, the league is still reviewing final proposals and documents sent by the guard’s group, per Charania. Dinwiddie has been preparing for any potential disciplinary action from the NBA, just in case.

The machinations involved in launching his digital investment vehicle haven’t stood in the way of Dinwiddie enjoying a career year on the court. He has averaged 22.4 PPG and 6.2 APG in 36 games (30.8 MPG) for the Nets, keeping the team in the playoff mix without Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

If he makes this year’s All-Star Game, Dinwiddie intends to bring eight fans and investors in his digital token along with him, according to Charania.

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Thybulle, Dinwiddie

The Sixers brought the intensity of a playoff basketball game earlier today as the team took down the conference-leading Bucks. Joel Embiid led the charge on the defensive end, where Philadelphia had a clear game plan to shut down Giannis Antetokounmpo.

“The whole season I’ve been humble, but I want to be defensive player of the year, and I feel like tonight showed it,” Embiid said after the win (h/t Torrey Hart of Yahoo! Sports).

The center has only missed six games this season after several seasons of spotty availability. Embiid could finally be on his way to taking home some regular-season hardware. Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • There’s some optimism that Matisse Thybulle‘s absence will only last about two weeks, Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports tweets. The rookie is expected to miss 2-to-4 weeks with a sprained knee.
  • The Nets‘ season has been filled with injuries and coach Kenny Atkinson is pleased with how the team has rallied. However, he knows a tough stretch is coming, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post relays. “It’s good. I’m pleasantly surprised [with the record],” coach Atkinson said.“It seems like when we have a guy down, someone steps up and the group comes closer together. … We’re going to have to see with this group if we can continue, and the schedule gets harder. 
  • The Nets might be dwelling in the Eastern Conference’s cellar if it weren’t for Spencer Dinwiddie being so good this season. While Atkinson is thankful for Dinwiddie’s contributions, he believes the guard can still improve, particularly with finishing at the rim, as Brian Lewis of the New York Post passes along.

Fournier Could Be On The Move

Magic swingman Evan Fournier is the player most likely to be moved before the trade deadline, according to an ESPN Insider report from Bobby Marks.

While there’s no indication Fournier is being shopped, a straw poll of NBA executives believe that the Magic will need to start exploring their trade options on the veteran, who is likely to leave $17.2MM on the table and opt out this summer. Orlando is currently battling for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Fournier is enjoying a career year, averaging 19.6 PPG and shooting 42.3% from long range.

Here are more nuggets from the ESPN report:

Atlantic Notes: Dinwiddie, Hayward, Miller, Sixers

The New York Post’s Brian Lewis ponders the role that stellar Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie will have when injured All-Star Kyrie Irving returns. Lewis notes that former Net Paul Pierce has proposed one possible solution on ESPN: Irving could start at shooting guard while Dinwiddie keeps rolling at the point guard slot. Brooklyn boasts a 11-6 record with Dinwiddie at the helm since Irving went down. The team was 4-7 before the injury.

“Kyrie’s still learning exactly what we want to do,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson allowed in recent comments. “Spencer’s got a little more corporate knowledge. It’s going to take time for Kyrie to completely understand what we’re doing on both sides of the ball.”

Meanwhile, Malika Andrews of ESPN notes that Irving has yet to be cleared for contact practices with the Nets, according to Atkinson (Twitter link). Two weeks ago, Atkinson had said that Irving would be ready for contact by this stage.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Coach Brad Stevens noted via the official Celtics Twitter account (link) that the health status of Gordon Hayward for his team’s next game will be “bumped up to probable after today.” Hayward’s various maladies have relegated him to just 11 games played this season.
  • Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News takes a look at the differences between ex-Knicks head coach David Fizdale and his interim replacement, Mike Miller. The Knicks are 3-4 since Miller slid over on the bench to take charge. They were 4-18 under Fizdale to start the season.
  • The Sixers offense was once again confounded by a zone defense, this time one enacted by the Mavericks, in a 117-98 loss on Friday. The defeat marked the team’s second consecutive home loss, after initially going 15-0 at the Wells Fargo Center to start the season. According to The Athletic’s Rich Hoffman, coach Brett Brown noted that opponents’ successful zone trapping was so demoralizing it has helped cultivate a lackluster Sixers effort on defense, too. “I think that the influence that our inability lately to… be put on our back heels against the zone, has crept into our defense, our psyche, our spirit,” Brown said. “And I can’t stand it.”

New York Notes: Hezonja, Dinwiddie, Miller, Barrett

Forward Mario Hezonja wanted to return to the Knicks but they never made him an offer in free agency, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports. Hezonja wound up taking a two-year, minimum salary deal with the Trail Blazers.

“That free agency was ‘call me and I’m coming back (to the Knicks),'” Hezonja said. “I don’t care (that) there’s a lot of perception people make about playing in New York. But I had never had problems with you guys (media). Media was great always great. Everyone from the front office was great to me. Fans are the best in the world. … I loved every single thing about my entire time out there. It didn’t work out in the summer.”

We have more on the New York teams:

  • Spencer Dinwiddie has played so well as the Nets’ starting point guard that coach Kenny Atkinson will have a pleasant dilemma when max player Kyrie Irving returns to action, Brian Lewis the New York Post writes. The Nets are 9-3 with Dinwiddie in the lineup, compared to 4-7 before a shoulder injury sidelined Irving. “It’s a good [situation]. It just adds to our depth and adds to our talent, and I just see it as a good thing,” Atkinson said. “Now I’m thinking about what is that going to look like rotation-wise. What does that look like with Spencer: Start or come off the bench? So those are good problems. I’m excited — our staff is excited — about making that work.”
  • New Knicks coach Mike Miller focused Monday’s two-hour practice on changing the team’s defensive coverage, Berman writes in a separate piece. Miller is looking for more consistent effort from the struggling squad. “We were working on the things that we need to do and really get a good feel, continue to work with our consistency of how we play possession to possession,’” Miller said. “That’s what our focus is. … Let’s lock in these areas where we’ve shown we can be pretty good. Let’s do it for longer stretches.”
  • Knicks rookie RJ Barrett has to adjust a coaching change in the early stages of his career but he’s taking it in stride, Steve Popper of Newsday relays. “This is a business,” Barrett said. “We’re pros. Stuff will happen. We have a whole season to go and move on.”

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.”