Five years ago, around this time, Brooklyn Nets fans were
arguing over Yogi Ferrell and Spencer Dinwiddie with hostility.
Seriously, go back and look. You would’ve had no idea unless you
were covering the Nets, but it was a divisive time in Brooklyn’s
era. (Even if it didn’t rise to the publicity of, say, Kyrie
Irving’s vaccination status.)
Almost to this exact date in 2017, Ferrell memorably had what is
still the best game of his NBA career, dropping 32 points in a
nationally-televised game between his Dallas Mavericks and Damian
Lillard’s Portland Trail Blazers while on a 10-day contract. That
same day, Dinwiddie netted 13 (which tied for his second-highest
output of the season), and it would be the last time he broke
double figures for 10 more days.
The debate grew hilariously one-sided the following season, and
Dinwiddie became a fringe All-Star candidate in both the 2018-19
and 2019-20 seasons. But the reason no one saw this coming
initially is because Dinwiddie came up as a pass-first,
low-turnover, traditional point guard — somebody who at one time
five games (134 minutes) without committing a turnover and took
eight shot attempts per 36 minutes; that figure leapt to 13.1,
15.6, and 18.4 the next three seasons.
Dinwiddie’s game has seen multiple iterations.
The score-first, old-school point guard from 2016-17.
The inefficient, yet ultra-timely scorer who still rarely turned
the ball over as a floor general in 2017-18.
The near All-Star who became a full-fledged, scoring point as a
sixth man in 2018-19.
The even-nearer All-Star combo guard who averaged around 20.0
points and 7.0 assists and got to the free-throw line at will in
But last year, he tore his ACL for the second time in his
basketball-playing life, and is still working his way back while in
“The Wizards want to move Dinwiddie
because he looks like a shell of his former self and his teammates
don’t want him there. Schröder is fine, but he leans too far toward
scoring and would be an awkward fit next to Jackson.”
To be fair, this entire Wizards team looks like a shell of their
10-4 selves from this past November, but anyway...
Dinwiddie, who is averaging 13.0 points, 5.8 assists and 4.6
rebounds on .383/.314/.807 shooting splits is in the first season
of a three-year, $54 million deal signed this past summer. After
earning $17.1 million this campaign, he’ll rake in $18 million in
2022-2023; he has $10 million of $18.9 million guaranteed for the
season after. And since the Wizards evidently want to trade him,
let’s help ‘em out.
Cavaliers receive: Spencer Dinwiddie, 2026 or 2028
Wizards receive: Ricky Rubio
This trade is quite simple on paper, and it starts with Ricky
Rubio’s $17.8 million expiring contract heading to Washington in
exchange for Dinwiddie. Rubio has a torn ACL and is expected to
return at some point, just not this season. It feels like someone
should send the other a draft pick or two here, but you could make
the case going either way.
For the Cavs, they’d be sending over Rubio while inheriting
Dinwiddie’s sizable contract as a result, so they should probably
ask for some draft compensation as a result — and would be right to
do so. In the Wizards' case, they’d be trading Dinwiddie for
someone who may never suit up for them and may want compensation
for that reality alone.
To me, Cleveland should get the draft compensation since this
deal could impact how it maneuvers this summer — including Collin
Sexton’s future, which still needs addressing. The good thing is
the pathway to doing that would remain, and Dinwiddie could play
the Rubio role this season.
Rubio averaged 13.1 points and 6.6 assists in 28.5 minutes per
contest in all but eight games off the bench, while posting
.363/.339/.854 shooting splits. He was as impactful as he possibly
could’ve been given the poor shooting, if you simply watched.
Dinwiddie’s numbers, as outlined earlier, are strikingly similar,
and coming off the bench for a good team might be more ideal for
him than starting for an aimless one. And the reason the Wizards'
pick is so far into the future is because the Stepien Rule prevents them from
moving anything sooner. (It makes this more difficult.)
Celtics receive: Spencer Dinwiddie, 2026 or 2028
Wizards receive: Dennis Schröder, Josh
As Justin Lewis noted last week in our
Celtics two-part retooling series, these dudes need an actual
point guard. The version Dinwiddie seems to play now is a
less-effective version of the 2018-19 combo guard he became, but
again, let’s consider the environment. The Celtics are probably
looking for a bigger trade deadline splash, but if pure-point
Dinwiddie were to arrive in Boston, that’s a better fit next to
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown than Dennis Schröder is.
Because Dinwiddie's deal runs longer than Richardson's or
Schröder's, you're attaching a first here, Washington, at a
minimum. Maybe add a second-rounder that would come
A big part of why Dinwiddie’s been less effective isn’t only his
shooting splits, but his free-throw rate is the lowest of his
career at .240, and he’s only averaging 3.9 attempts from the line
per 36 minutes, the lowest figure since his rookie season in
2014-15. That free-throw rate needs to elevate in Boston, and
playing next to the Jays should provide those open lanes for spaced
threes and clear drives to create more of that rim pressure we
haven’t seen much of in Washington.
This looks ugly as hell, and is probably not very likely, but it
could actually work.
For Washington, you get rid of two unfavorable contracts;
Bertāns especially. You also acquire Simmons, who is beginning his
max extension (has he even gotten paid from it yet since he hasn't
played?) that'll run through 2025. Beal, as we know, has a player
option for next summer, but is more likely to sign an extension
this summer that will take him well into his 30s. The Wizards
reportedly still don't want to trade
Beal, but what's honestly the upside in keeping him now? To be
Portland East? Regarding Tobias Harris, the Wizards may (and
probably should) try rerouting him under this scenario. Harris will
see over $38 million next season, and over $40 million in
For Philly, it finally rids the organization of the Simmons
experience, which it'll probably they need to do to have any chance
of competing this year. It also gets rid of Harris, but at a price.
At least, Dinwiddie gives the Sixers a real point guard option to
mix in, who can even play with Tyrese Maxey and has one fully
guaranteed year left. Bertāns is getting between $16 and $17
million each year through the 2024-25 season, though that's
partially guaranteed. Functionally, he can be a 4 next to Embiid,
which may even help given the way Embiid is passing this season.
The first-round picks are the reward for taking back bad contracts,
and, of course, getiting Beal.
I'm still not positive it's a deal either of these teams want,
but sometimes, we don't know what's best for us anyhow.
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