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Spencer Dinwiddie waves bye-bye to Brooklyn

Fan favorite off to Washington D.C. after sign-and-trade deal

August 5, 2021 John Torenli, Sports Editor
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Spencer Dinwiddie has too much talent and likely cost too much money to be a Brooklyn Net next season.

Especially with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden running it back in 2021-22.

So on Friday, when the NBA lifts its moratorium on announcing free-agent signings and trades, Dinwiddie will be a Washington Wizard after five productive seasons in a Downtown Brooklyn, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Nets signed the versatile guard/forward to a three-year deal estimated to be in the $60 million range and sent him to our nation’s capital for a pair of future second-round draft picks and an $11.5 million trade exception.

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The swap clears the way for Dinwiddie to replace former Wizards point guard Russell Westbrook, who will be headed to the Los Angeles Lakers in what blossomed into a blockbuster five-team deal that also involves Indiana and San Antonio.

Dinwiddie, 28, revitalized a dormant, injury-plagued career here, culminating in his 2019-20 breakthrough campaign, when he led the Nets in scoring and assists per game before COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the season and ended his with a positive test before the Nets went to the NBA bubble site.

“Quite simply, (Nets general manager) Sean (Marks), (team owners) Joe, Clara (Tsai) and the @brooklynnets saved my career,” Dinwiddie posted on his Instagram along with a moving video of highlights from his Nets career.

“Thank you to each and every staff member and teammate.”

Dinwiddie played only three games for Brooklyn last year before partially tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right leg.

Though he worked hard to come back in time for the Nets’ playoff run, he never played for Brooklyn again after suffering the injury on Dec. 27.

With the Nets bringing back the likes of Blake Griffin and Bruce Brown on one-year deals and adding former Spurs guard Patty Mills, the Nets were simply not going to be able to give Dinwiddie the contract he had earned.

Already over the luxury tax, Brooklyn will go into its second straight season with the highest patyroll in the sport.

Spencer Dinwiddie was a fan favorite and thanked his Nets teammates on Instagram Wednesday after learning he’d be headed to Washington D.C. AP Photo by Michael Dwyer

Whether all those steep salaries will result in our borough’s first major pro sports championship is yet to be revealed. But knowing Dinwiddie won’t be around if the Nets do grab their first-ever title has to be disheartening to diehard Brooklyn fans.

Dinwiddie came here from Detroit via Chicago and proved over the next half decade that he was one of the sport’s rising stars. He won the All-Star Skills Challenge in 2018.

When Irving’s first season in Brooklyn was cut short by shoulder and knee injuries, it was Dinwiddie who rose to the challenge and led the Nets into the postseason in 2020.

Though not nearly as notable a star as any of the Big Three, Dinwiddie will surely be missed on the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush, and at the team’s practice facility in Sunset Park.

His work ethic, preparedness, recovery from injuries that threatened his career and his willingness to grow within the system helped make Brooklyn an attractive locale for high-priced free agents like Durant, Irving and Harden.

Until, of course, he became one himself.

Nets first-round pick Cameron Thomas will test his skills at the NBA’s Summer League in Las Vegas next week. AP Photo by Gerald Herbert

NOTHING BUT NET: The Nets will take their first step toward winning a title next year when they compete in the NBA’s Summer League schedule beginning next week. Assistant coach Jordan Ott will serve as head coach of Brooklyn’s squad in Las Vegas, which includes 2021 first-round draft selections Cam Thomas (27th overall pick) and Day’Ron Sharpe (29th). Also, the Nets will send second round picks Kessler Edwards, Marcus Zegarowski and RaiQuan Gray to Sin City. Veterans featured on the roster are Nets forwards Alize Johnson and Reggie Perry. The Nets tip off their summer slate Monday at 5 p.m.

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