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Spencer Dinwiddie shades Mavericks with reason for signing with Lakers

Spencer Dinwiddie seemed to take a veiled jab at the Mavericks when explaining one reason he chose to sign with the Lakers.

The Dallas Mavericks likely won’t be amused by the analogy Spencer Dinwiddie used to explain his decision to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers rather than return to the Mavs.

“I’ll give y’all something funny that I told my people ’cause I’m fairly candid,” Dinwiddie teased when asked, at Lakers practice on Monday, how he chose between his hometown and Dallas, where he spent parts of two seasons. “The two situations kinda felt like this, right? Let’s say you were a kid and you got your ass whooped by the bully. Dallas would’ve been like your momma being like, ‘It’s OK baby. Don’t worry about it.’ Lakers are like your dad. ‘Nah, you better go out there and fight till you win.’ You feel me? And I just felt like that was what I needed at the time.”

Dinwiddie was bought out by the Toronto Raptors after being acquired from the Brooklyn Nets at the NBA trade deadline. On Thursday, Lakers GM Rob Pelinka said the Lakers would target a “ball-handling guard” on the buyout market. The next day, Dinwiddie sat with Pelinka for the Lakers’ win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday. He hung out in the locker room postgame.

Dinwiddie averaged 17.1 points and 4.9 assists across 76 games (60 starts) for Dallas. He was traded in Feb. 2023 in the Kyrie Irving blockbuster. The Mavericks pursued a reunion — and had slightly more prorated salary to offer — but Dinwiddie said the Lakers’ big-game chops, led by LeBron James (not Christian Wood) were among the numerous factors that appealed to him.

“Essentially, it’s a team that, when everything’s on the line, they can rise to a level that no other team can get to. Obviously, they won the In-Season Tournament, have played big-time basketball the past several years. Obviously, sometimes it’s hard to maintain that throughout a whole season. But at the end of the day, they know how to win. That’s what you know. Every night they’re gonna get somebody’s best shot just because of the names on the front of the uniform. Then, obviously, you have arguably the greatest player of all time on the court, so a lot of people are going to give him personally their best shot as well.”

Dinwiddie is a career 33.1% 3-point shooter (32% this season), but he registered the only above-league-average sniping seasons of his career while paired with Luka. In 2022-23, he posted a career-high 41.7% catch-and-shoot success rate, per NBA.com. The Lakers and Dinwiddie hope he’ll recreate similar results with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Darvin Ham said he’ll experiment with three-guard lineups featuring Dinwiddie, D’Angelo Russell, and Austin Reaves alongside LeBron and AD.

Dinwiddie shared what the coaching staff and Pelinka expect to see, right away.

“Get downhill, provide rim pressure, point of attack defense, also wing defense depending upon the lineups, switchability there. Just come in, be aggressive, set a tone. Play with high IQ. Remember, in this situation, it’s more about plugging in than dominating. So, that’s the mentality.”

Dinwiddie will make his Lakers debut on Tuesday vs. the Detroit Pistons at Crypto.com Arena. It’ll be a bit of a full-circle affair: a Woodland Hills native finally donning the purple-and-gold against the franchise that took a chance on him in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft.

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