Aside from a few weeks in the fall, the Washington Wizards‘ season has been a major disappointment. Washington’s revamped roster has mustered up a 23-26 record, placing it just outside of the play-in group in the Eastern Conference. Now, with the NBA trade deadline looming, the Wizards are reportedly exploring the possibility of trading Spencer Dinwiddie and salvaging the season.
Spencer Dinwiddie is one of the more disappointing players on the Washington Wizards
Few teams were as active last offseason as Washington. The Wizards added Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in the infamous Russell Westbrook deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. But they also acquired Dinwiddie within the same deal, inking the veteran guard to a three-year, $54 million contract as part of a sign-and-trade with the Brooklyn Nets.
Dinwiddie, 28, became an integral part of the Nets over the last five seasons. The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 14.3 points in Brooklyn, including a season-high 20.6 points in 2019-20. However, he appeared in just three games last year after partially tearing his ACL days into the regular season.
The eight-year vet was supposed to form a lethal backcourt combo with Bradley Beal. And while Beal is undergoing some declines of his own, Dinwiddie doesn’t look close to the player he was two years ago in Brooklyn.
Through 40 games, Dinwiddie is averaging just 13.2 points in 30.5 minutes, the second-most playing time he’s ever received. He’s hitting 38.6% of his shots, a sharp decline from the 44.2% he made just three seasons ago. Not to mention, his 114 defensive rating is the worst of his career and tied with Beal for the worst on the team among all starters.
Dinwiddie’s struggles, which often come with Beal on the floor, have correlated with Washington’s drop in the standings. The former Colorado Buffalo has averaged a mere 9.4 points across the latest five-game losing streak.
The Wizards are reportedly trying to trade Dinwiddie
At the start of the year, Dinwiddie and the Wizards were 10-3 and the surprise team of the NBA. Since then, they’ve gone a miserable 13-23 and fallen outside of the playoff picture.
Washington is far from out of the race, entering Tuesday just a half-game behind the 10-seed. But in order to elevate its overall projection, a change in scenery might be required for Dinwiddie.
Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer recently touched on a number of guards potentially available at the deadline. Among them … Dinwiddie.
“The Wizards want to move Dinwiddie because he looks like a shell of his former self and his teammates don’t want him there.”Kevin O’Connor
While O’Connor didn’t go into more detail than that, it’s not surprising to hear there’s tension. After Saturday’s 20-point loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, Dinwiddie spoke about how he attempted — unsuccessfully — to become a vocal leader in D.C.
“It’s an interesting situation. I spoke up a little bit early on [this season]. It wasn’t necessarily welcomed,” Dinwiddie said courtesy of the New York Post. “And so, like I said, I try to do whatever’s asked of me. At the end of the day, everybody has a role to play. It’s about being accountable in your role and doing that to the best of your ability. That’s really all I’ve got.”
Spencer Dinwiddie might be worth the risk for a team
Just because Dinwiddie isn’t fitting in with the Wizards, it doesn’t mean he can’t fit in anywhere else.
O’Connor’s mention of the 28-year-old came in an in-depth look at the Los Angeles Clippers. With both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George out along with a clear need for a point guard, perhaps the Clippers could take on the veteran Dinwiddie in exchange for one of their higher-paid players.
What about the Lakers? Washington is already familiar with doing business with the Purple and Gold after linking up for last summer’s Westbrook trade. LA is as desperate as anyone to shake things up and could be willing to part with Talen Horton-Tucker and/or Kendrick Nunn for Dinwiddie.
There are more homes out there for Dinwiddie, a well-regarded vet who was beloved in Brooklyn. Even though he’s not playing well, he’s still just 28 and can turn things around. If the Wizards are willing to give up on him in the first year of his three-year contract, someone should jump at the opportunity as soon as they can.