The Toronto Raptors made a series of strange moves at the trade deadline. One was swapping Dennis Schroder for Spencer Dinwiddie, before promptly waiving the former Brooklyn Nets point guard. Dinwiddie immediately became the No. 1 option on the buyout market, with the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks vying for his services.
He didn't last long in free agency. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Dinwiddie plans to sign with the Lakers after he clears waivers. Dinwiddie was on the final year of his contract in Brooklyn, making $18.9 million. The 30-year-old was seen next to Rob Pelinka at Los Angeles' 139-122 win over the Pelicans on Friday night.
In 48 games before the trade deadline, Dinwiddie averaged 12.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 6.0 assists on .391/.320/.781 splits in 30.7 minutes. He struggled in Brooklyn under Jacque Vaughn, but there's reason to believe the dynamic slasher can return to form in new surroundings.
Lakers to sign Spencer Dinwiddie on buyout market; Mavs snubbed
Dinwiddie to Dallas felt like a strong possibility. He was seen chatting it up with Mark Cuban court-side shortly after the trade deadline; plus, Dinwiddie spent part of two seasons with the Mavs in 2022 and 2023, forming a strong working relationship with Luka Doncic. He was sent to Brooklyn as part of the Kyrie Irving trade.
The Lakers' primary goal at the deadline was to land another source of ball-handling. Rather than cashing in their trade chips for a mid-level rotation guard, however, the Lakers sat on their hands and waited for the buyout market to form. Dinwiddie comes free of cost, except for the prorated minimum salary he will finish the season on.
Dinwiddie's struggles in Brooklyn this season shoudn't be understated. He was quite bad, with a worrisome dip in volume and efficiency inside the arc. Dinwiddie's greatest strength has always been his driving ability. If he's not consistently pressuring the rim and creating advantages for the Lakers offense, he stands to disappoint members of the fanbase. He should not be billed as a season savior.
That said, Dinwiddie's talent and track record of production is undeniable. He's worth a flier. He gets to re-team with former Nets co-star D'Angelo Russell in the Lakers' backcourt. Dinwiddie started in Brooklyn, but he's due for a sharp decline in minutes with LA. At this stage of his career, however, that's not necessarily a negative. A more concentrated role as the leader of Los Angeles' bench mob — or as a connective guard next to LeBron James and Austin Reaves — could help Dinwiddie squeeze the most out of his skill set.
At 28-26, the Lakers are ninth in the Western Conference. Dinwiddie will surely enjoy the perks of Hollywood, not to mention the inherent plusses of sharing the court with LeBron and Anthony Davis. But, at the core of this move is the Lakers' desire to return to competitive status, and the hope that Dinwiddie can meaningfully move the needle in that direction. We will see how realistic that goal is.