If the Nets had a breakout player last season, it was point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, who finished third in voting for the Most Improved Player Award after ranking second in the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio. But Dinwiddie likely will come off the bench this season behind D’Angelo Russell, and his name has popped up in numerous trade rumors, especially because he’s in the final year of a bargain contract worth $1.6 million.
Dinwiddie laughed when asked about the rumors during Monday’s Media Day session. “We’re talking about Phoenix, we’re talking about Minnesota, the Cavs,” Dinwiddie said. “We could throw in OKC.
“Being in trade rumors all summer, I guess, there’s two pieces — I want to be here, I love being here, I’m happy that they didn’t. On the flip side, the spectrum of teams that were calling obviously means I played well. Mildly stressful, but at the same time, I can’t control it. I just sit here and take it day by day.”
Dinwiddie is one of seven Nets veterans in the final guaranteed year of a deal heading to the summer of 2019 when they are projected to clear $65 million of salary cap space. Asked about playing with contract uncertainty, Dinwiddie said, “It’s the elephant in the room, and everybody knows that. But we also understand we have to be in the moment, we have to be in the present situation and try to do what’s best for the unit.”
Dudley expects LeVert to break out
Nets newcomer Jared Dudley suggested Caris LeVert, who is entering his third season, might be this season’s breakout player. “I haven’t seen anyone guard him here in the last couple weeks,” Dudley said of LeVert. “He’s scoring at will. His ballhandling is better than I thought it was. That’s how you can tell a role player from a player who can be someone special. Usually year three or year four is when you get that huge jump.”
Veteran forward Kenneth Faried, who was arrested recently in the Hamptons for marijuana possession, addressed the issue and indicated he doesn’t expect it to impact his season. “The team and I had our conversation,” Faried said. “I had a conversation with the coach. It’s taken care of pretty much. My people are handling it. I have great lawyers. I’m going to play this year. Everything is fine.”…Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (strained adductor) and Dzanan Musa (ankle) both said they are recovering well but have not been fully cleared to participate fully in the first practice of training camp on Tuesday.