Of all the Nets, no one has been linked to more trade rumors than Spencer Dinwiddie, who led the injury-plagued Nets last season. He averaged 20.6 points and 6.8 assists, both career-highs, even after missing the NBA restart because he contracted COVID-19.
Dinwiddie’s name has been linked to reports that Rockets star James Harden wants to be traded to the Nets. There also were reports that Dinwiddie, who now represents himself, was working to get himself traded, but he denied that in a video news conference on Friday.
"That’s a fair question, I guess," Dinwiddie said. "I don’t know anybody that takes less than market value to stay on a team that wants to be traded. That would be bad for business, right? That would kind of be really dumb."
Dinwiddie was referring to the fact that he previously agreed to a three-year extension worth $34.4 million. He is entering the second year of that deal, but he can opt out of the final year next summer and renegotiate. That makes him trade bait, along with the fact he proved himself as a top-notch starter much of last season when both Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert were sidelined by injuries.
Now, Dinwiddie is expected to come off the bench again at point guard behind Irving, though it won’t be surprising if he is in the finishing lineup with Irving and LeVert. In four seasons with the Nets, Dinwiddie has played a variety of roles, and in that respect, he likens himself to Golden State forward/center Draymond Green as "kind of that glue, that multi-purpose guy.
"I’ve worn a lot of different roles for this team — off the bench, starting, closer, point, off the ball, whatever it may be. So, that’s kind of how I view myself — the multi-purpose utility guy who helps keep the guys together, trying to make the sacrifice plays to help the team win.
"Whether I’m here or not long-term, obviously, that comes down to next summer, but it’s not something I can worry about right now. [General manager Sean Marks] makes decisions to put the best team on the floor and, hopefully, we can win."
Dinwiddie generally has been on the ball previously because of his ability to drive to the rim. But he knows his job description will change in a lineup featuring a healthy Kevin Durant, whom Dinwiddie describes as "the best scorer ever," and Irving.
"Look at KD and Kyrie, and they’re going to be ball-dominant," Dinwiddie said. "You’ve got to really recognize that and get the ball where it needs to go. There haven’t been any explicit conversations, but to think that you’re going to be trying to take the ball out of KD’s hands probably ain’t the smartest thing."
Notes & quotes: The Nets’ 37-game schedule for the first half of the NBA season was announced Friday. They open at home against Golden State on Dec. 22, visit Boston on Christmas Day and play six straight home games from Dec. 28 through Jan. 7. They visit the Knicks on Jan. 13 and have a five-game West Coast trip from Feb. 13-21.