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Spencer Dinwiddie giddy to have Kyrie, Durant as new Nets teammates

The Nets' Spencer Dinwiddie, driving on Tobias Harris

The Nets' Spencer Dinwiddie, driving on Tobias Harris during the playoffs, helped recruit Kyrie Irving.  Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

LAS VEGAS — Spencer Dinwiddie has been widely identified as the person who convinced Kyrie Irving to come to Brooklyn and triggered the chain reaction that also netted Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan, and he was enjoying the moment while speaking to reporters at courtside of the Nets’ NBA Summer League opener Friday.

Just how big a role did he play as a recruiter? “The thing about the NBA is that everything you read is plausible,” Dinwiddie said with a big smile. “With that being said, obviously, it could have happened, it may not have happened.”

Free-agent transactions don’t become official until deals start getting approved at noon ET on Saturday, but Dinwiddie was happy to deal with reality on Friday in assessing what the Nets have achieved. “Any time you add two of the top players in the world — they’re multi-time All-Stars — you’re obviously going to get better,” Dinwiddie said. “It’s up to the rest of us to facilitate that transition, and hopefully we can be a very good team next year.”

Durant is expected to miss the 2019-20 season while recovering from a ruptured right Achilles tendon, but Irving and Jordan will play major roles and the Nets also are adding veterans Taurean Prince and Garrett Temple. Coming off a 42-40 season and a first-round playoff loss to the 76ers, they figure to be a mid-level playoff team in the Eastern Conference even without Durant.

As for how high they might climb, Dinwiddie said much depends on whether Kawhi Leonard, the remaining superstar still on the market, decides to stay with the champion Raptors or join the Lakers or Clippers. “You can’t overstep the champs,” Dinwiddie said. “Obviously, you’ve got to honor what they did.

“Milwaukee had a very impressive regular season . . . and beyond that, you want to be in the same mix. We want to be one of the best teams in the East, and that’s next year without KD. It goes without being said we’re going to be better when arguably the best player in the world comes back.”

A year ago, Dinwiddie and Irving took the same summer class at Harvard, which is where their friendship grew. Dinwiddie teased reporters when he said, “Everybody just assumes that was the first time I met the man.”

Discussing their relationship, he added, “I think it just stems from mutual respect. I think he’s a phenomenal ballplayer, and I’d like to think he thinks I’m fairly decent as well.”

Dinwiddie said his selling spiel was what anyone would expect him to say about the Nets. “Kenny [Atkinson] is a players-first coach, Sean [Marks] is a family-first GM and we’ve got a lot of young talent. I think Jarrett [Allen] is going to be an All-Star one day.”

The fact that the Nets aced out the Knicks to land Durant and Irving might be a game-changer for the Nets in the New York sports landscape. Dinwiddie has a history of tweaking Knicks fans on social media, so he was tickled to have another opportunity.

“I think we definitely are going to be viewed differently with different stars on the team,” he said. “I’m sure [the Knicks] wish the whole league saw them the way they saw themselves. We’ve been the best team in New York for a hot second now. We beat them last year, we’re going to beat them this year. Pretty simple.

“I don’t really want to get into that much beef with Knicks fans. I’m just here to tell you the truth . . .It’s going to be fun. We have high expectations for ourselves as individuals and the roster. We believe in the talent we have for sure.”

Notes & quotes: The Nets lost to the Mavericks, 96-92, in their Summer League opener. Allen had 19 points and Rodions Kurucs, Theo Pinson and undrafted point guard Josh Gray added 14 points apiece.

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