The Los Angeles Lakers may need to look to a rival contender to add more help this offseason for LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Conner believes the Lakers are a possible landing spot for Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
“It was reported that he’ll likely decline that [player option], and he’ll have a lot of teams after him,” O’Connor noted on The Ringer NBA Show. “It wouldn’t surprise me if we see him or the Nets try to weasel a way to a sign-and-trade situation, potentially. Some teams that had interest with him in the past, such as the Lakers, would have to do a sign-and-trade. So, we’ll see what happens there.”
Additionally, Nets beat reporter Kristian Winfield reported that Dinwiddie has an interest in playing in Los Angeles, where he is from.
There are two key things to watch when it comes to Dinwiddie’s future starting with his potential free-agent status. Dinwiddie has a player option which he would need to decline to become a free agent.
This would make the Lakers a more likely option, but the team would need to pull off a sign-and-trade with the Nets to have a chance at the guard in this scenario. Finally, Dinwiddie’s health will be worth watching as the guard played in just three games before suffering a season-ending ACL injury.
Dinwiddie Has Been ‘Fully Cleared’ After Recovering From a Season-Ending ACL Injury
The early signs point to Dinwiddie already making a full recovery from his injury. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Dinwiddie has been “fully cleared” by doctors after recovering from a partial ACL tear.
“Nets free agent Spencer Dinwiddie has been fully cleared for all basketball activities, his operating surgeon Dr. Riley Williams says,” Charania detailed on Twitter. “Dinwiddie recovered from a partial ACL tear in just over five months. He enters free agency as one of the top point guards on the market.”
The Lakers Reportedly Explored a Kuzma for Dinwiddie Trade
Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported the Lakers explored a trade with the Nets centering around swapping Kyle Kuzma for Dinwiddie prior to his unfortunate injury. Dinwiddie averaged 20.6 points, 6.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 64 games including 49 starts during the 2019-20 season. If healthy, Dinwiddie would give the Lakers a legitimate third option next to Davis and James.
The one challenge is Dinwiddie is not a consistent 3-point shooter, a significant weakness that the Lakers need to address this offseason. He has made just 31.8% of his 3s in his career.
“In addition to their pursuit of Lowry, the Lakers were canvassing the league for opportunities to acquire a rookie-scale player who could perhaps bridge this James-Davis chapter and the inevitable post-James future,” Fischer explained. “Before Spencer Dinwiddie’s injury, Los Angeles even inquired about adding Brooklyn’s reserve ball handler in exchange for Kuzma.”
The Nets Hinted at Facilitating a Sign-and-Trade for Dinwiddie
The Lakers have already been linked to a number of stars this offseason with very few of the moves having a chance of happening. While the Lakers would need help to land Dinwiddie, the Nets guard is a realistic target for Los Angeles. Nets general manager Sean Marks hinted at facilitating a sign-and-trade for Dinwiddie. The guard became more expendable for Brooklyn after the Nets traded for James Harden.
“We’ll deal with Spencer when the time comes,” Marks said, per SB Nation. “Obviously, Spencer has put himself in a position to secure his future long-term. We’d love to play a role in that whether that’s here or we can help him, but we’ll focus on that at a later date.”
Assuming Dinwiddie checks out medically, the main question for the Lakers will be the guard’s asking price. HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto reported Dinwiddie is expected to command a salary in the “high teens.”
“Dinwiddie seems like he’s leaving,” an NBA executive told HoopsHype. “He’ll have a high salary number. I don’t see him staying regardless. I don’t get the sense he wants to be there.”