Spencer Dinwiddie signing with Lakers: Sources

Last Update :
Spencer Dinwiddie signing with Lakers: Sources

Guard Spencer Dinwiddie is joining the Los Angeles Lakers after he clears waivers, league sources said Saturday. The 30-year-old is signing for $1.5 million for the remainder of the season, as the Lakers were able to offer him more than a minimum contract due to not using their full non-taxpayer midlevel exception on Gabe Vincent last offseason.

Dinwiddie was waived by the Toronto Raptors after he was acquired Thursday in a trade that sent Dennis Schröder and Thaddeus Young to the Brooklyn Nets. With the Nets, Dinwiddie averaged 12.6 points, 6.0 assists and 3.3 rebounds in 48 contests.

The Lakers were among several playoff contenders — including the Dallas Mavericks — that seriously pursued Dinwiddie with an opportunity for a significant role on the roster. He was the Lakers’ top target on the buyout market after the team struck out ahead of the trade deadline, according to team sources not authorized to speak publicly.

Dinwiddie attended the Lakers’ 139-122 win against the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday, sitting alongside Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka and co-owners Jesse and Joey Buss in the team’s new bunker-style suites at Crypto.com Arena. He eventually walked with Pelinka past the Lakers’ bench and to the locker room right before the buzzer.

Dinwiddie also sat behind the Mavericks bench Thursday night at Madison Square Garden and met with team officials in New York City. He played for Dallas during parts of the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons, including making a conference finals run in 2022.

But it appears Dinwiddie will instead sign with his hometown team. The Los Angeles native still has notable ties to the city, and would potentially have a bigger role with the Lakers as the team’s third guard.

The Lakers are 28-26 and sit ninth in the Western Conference.

What does Dinwiddie bring to Los Angeles?

Pelinka said after the trade deadline that the Lakers’ top priority was adding another ballhandling guard given the uncertainty surrounding Vincent’s return from knee surgery. Dinwiddie was the best available guard, checking that box and more.

He adds size, athleticism, scoring and playmaking to a backcourt that needs all of those traits. He’s been a double-digit scorer for five straight seasons (excluding an injury-plagued 2020-21 season), and has averaged 6.0-plus assists in four seasons. He recently shot 40.4 percent on 3s over his two half-seasons in Dallas from 2021 to 2023.

His shooting has regressed since leaving Dallas (32.0 percent on 3s this season), and whether that returns will be a considerable factor in how useful he can be for a team that needs spacers around its stars. Defensively, Dinwiddie has the tools to be an above-average defender, but his effort and focus waned on Brooklyn. He should be at least serviceable on that end.

Dinwiddie will assume the role of third guard behind D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves, taking from the collective minutes of Russell, Reaves and Max Christie (once he returns from a sprained ankle). He’s been a full-time starter since the 2021-22 season, making him arguably overqualified for a third guard role, but that’s a luxury for a Lakers team that has coveted a stable presence for its second unit.

Dinwiddie chose his hometown Lakers over the Mavericks, who could’ve offered him nearly $4 million more plus the difference in state taxes ($5.3 million from the Mavericks versus $1.5 million from the Lakers). Considering that, it appears he’s likely to play a large role off the bench, and potentially even close games situationally. — Jovan Buha, Lakers senior writer

What needs remain?

The Lakers have a full roster will 15 players officially under contract once Dinwiddie clears waivers and signs with them. However, at least a couple of needs remain.

Los Angeles has shot 3s better recently from a percentage perspective, but it lacks a high-volume sharpshooter who can bend defenses with his gravity and movement (Russell is closest, though he does it more so with the ball in his hands). The Lakers also could use more defensive reinforcements on the wing and the interior as their defense has slipped to 20th over the past month.

To create an open roster spot, Los Angeles would need to waive one of its minimum players: Cam Reddish, Christian Wood or Jaxson Hayes. As of now, it’s unclear if the Lakers view any of the remaining buyout options as an upgrade. — Buha

Required reading

(Photo: Sarah Stier / Getty Images)