Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie Gets Honest About Bulls Star Zach LaVine

Chicago Bulls

Getty Spencer Dinwiddie #26 of the Brooklyn Nets.

A 38-point night from Chicago Bulls (26-29) guard Zach LaVine was undone with a 116-108 loss to the Brooklyn Nets who were fresh off of trading Kevin Durant (Phoenix Suns) and Kyrie Irving (Dallas Mavericks) and were missing their two biggest trade acquisitions in Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson as well as their best remaining incumbent player, Nic Claxton.

And yet they rose to the occasion while the Bulls faded just hours after executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas explained another trade deadline of inactivity by professing his confidence in the current group.

For what it’s worth, it does not sound like the Nets – likely riding high from an emotional few days – found it an easy task.

“That’s not my job that’s [head coach Jacque Vaughn]’s job. He’s the one that’s going to put us in the right place,” Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie said during his postgame media availability via the team’s official YouTube channel when asked about the new-look Nets’ defensive potential. “But I will say, I didn’t like guarding Zach tonight. So, Mikal, you can take that job.”

Despite spending most of his time trying to score on Dinwiddie, LaVine only scored six of his points against the Nets’ outspoken veteran, per matchup data. He did the bulk of his damage against Ben Simmons with 12 points on a perfect 6-for-6 from the floor.

Dinwiddie did relatively well with LaVine scoring more points against four other Nets including Simmons than he did against Dinwiddie, though he was an efficient 4-for-6.

“Hey, listen, defense is something I can do,” said the 6-foot-5, 225-pound former Bulls backcourt prospect, “you know, high-effort guy, whatever. But it’s not necessarily something that I love to do.”

It was, perhaps, a needed night for LaVine who was the subject of some late-developing trade rumors which, much like the rest of the day for the Bulls fizzled out.

Spencer Dinwiddie Got His Against The Bulls

To his credit, LaVine held Dinwiddie to six points of his team-high 25 points on 2-for-3 shooting in their minutes matched up against each other. Dinwiddie found most of his success against Ayo Dosunmu (10 pts, 3-for-6 FG) and Nikola Vucevic (eight points, 3-for-4 FG) notching the rest against Coby White.

The Bulls have caught flack for waiving Dinwiddie twice in 2016 only to have him help snap a playoff drought for Brooklyn three years before Chicago snapped theirs.

“In 2019, he helped the Nets make the NBA Playoffs for the first time in three seasons,” writes Ben Stinar for Sports Illustrated. “He also became a borderline All-Star, and…is currently one of the best role players in the entire NBA. The Bulls definitely made a mistake by giving up on him.”

Dinwiddie is just one of many examples for the Bulls – and most teams – in recent memory alone of not seeing a player’s development all the way through, such is the nature of the business where teams are on different timelines than players can realistically be expected to develop.

But with multiple examples coming from this front office’s tenure alone, their gun-shyness at this year’s trade deadline may be more palatable, or at least that is what they seem to be hoping for.

Bulls Ripped for Trade Deadline Inactivity

“We were pretty active at the trade deadline, it just didn’t seem there were deals to make to improve this group,” said Karnisovas in his first official press conference since media day. “And, at the end of the day, we decided to go with this group for the next 28 games.”

It was at media day that Karnisovas express very similar sentiments about the Bulls’ attempts at adding to their roster this past offseason.

Then, it was Danilo Gallinari and Mo Bamba, the latter of whom wanted to be a Bull. Both players signed elsewhere – Gallinari joined his favorite team as a child, the Boston Celtics, and Bamba went back to Orlando. The Magic traded Bamba to the Los Angeles Lakers at the deadline in a complex four-team deal.

This time, Karnisovas’ words were not received as kindly even after further explanation.

“What’s the saying when you get married,” asked DeMar DeRozan rhetorically, per Julia Poe of the Chicago Tribune. “Through sickness and health, you stick through it. That’s how I look at it when I’m with a group of guys. Through sickness and health, ‘til death do us part.”

DeRozan, who is always good for a quote, has never uttered one more on the mark.