NEW YORK -- Spencer Dinwiddie didn't say exactly how he found out he was returning to the Brooklyn Nets, where he played from 2016 until 2021, but he said he was reading the tea leaves. It was "not like a secret or anything" that the Dallas Mavericks wanted to add star talent, and usually "that involves picks and that involves a player or two or three that people find valuable around the league." Once Kyrie Irving demanded a trade, Dinwiddie's agent stayed on top of things. And Dinwiddie said he understood what the Nets needed.
"We may not be the best trade package, but we're the best looking, and the Nets needed some help in that department," Dinwiddie said, seated next to a laughing Dorian Finney-Smith at their introductory press conference on Tuesday. "So, they drew their line on Doe and Spence, and now we're here."
The NBA trade deadline can be dramatic, unpredictable and, for some players, extremely stressful. Dinwiddie brought some levity to the proceedings, informing the media that his son, Elijah, is about to turn five years old, "so he's not crawling around anymore. He's going to be in here acting like he's running things, just so you know."
Dinwiddie waxed nostalgic about his first stint in Brooklyn, in which the franchise transitioned from the brief Jeremy Lin-Brook Lopez era to a group of up-and-comers that made the playoffs and then transformed into a team with "max guys and championship aspirations." Dinwiddie tore his ACL early in the 2020-21 season and left in a sign-and-trade the following summer, but continued to root for the Nets from afar.
"Yeah, to a degree, it is a second bite at the apple," he said. "And although I wanted to win over in Dallas, I mean obviously there is a certain level of pride that it would be to bring a championship to Brooklyn over any other organization in the league."
It was only August 2021 when Dinwiddie departed, yet he said it feels like about five years have passed. Dinwiddie returned from his injury, was traded from the Washington Wizards to the Mavericks at last year's trade deadline and went on to post a pair of 26-point performances in the conference finals. Now he's back with the Nets, thanks to a trade demand made by a star he helped recruit. He said he's happy to be back and it's an honor for him and Finney-Smith -- a former second-round pick and an undrafted player, respectively -- to be at the podium in the Barclays Center interview room, having been traded for Irving.
"The business is the business," Dinwiddie said. "A superstar is a superstar. He puts butts in the seats. He scores a lot of points. He's a great, phenomenal player and talent. So if they're saying, hey, we feel like this is the best value for us for now and for the future, then that means you must be pretty good, too."
Repeatedly, Dinwiddie heaped praise on Finney-Smith for his defensive versatility and willingness to do anything to win.
"I ain't met a guy he can't guard outside of me," he said.
Neither new addition will play against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday. Brooklyn coach Jacque Vaughn said it would be "unfair" to throw them out there after arriving from Dallas on Monday, doing their physicals and only briefly having a chance to talk about the offense, defense and terminology.
This means that Dinwiddie and Finney-Smith are scheduled to make their debuts on Thursday against the Chicago Bulls, which will tip off four and a half hours after the trade deadline. Both of them are eligible to be traded again, but neither of their salaries can be combined with another player's. It has been widely reported that the Nets are still trying to make upgrades to the roster, and on Monday Marc Stein reported that they were exploring the possibility of trading Dinwiddie, along with draft capital, to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Fred VanVleet.
Asked if he'd received assurances that he'd remain in Brooklyn beyond the deadline, Dinwiddie said that isn't something he can address. "I mean, I assume I'm here, I plan to be here," he said. "I don't think we'd be having this press conference if they weren't [planning to keep me]. This would be a lot of trouble just to ship me off in six hours."
This line drew laughs.
"No, I'm serious," Dinwiddie said. "Like, then we all look crazy. Y'all wasted your time, I wasted my time. But in general, like I said, again, business is business. Like, if they offered Luka Doncic for me right now in an expanded trade, if I was Sean Marks, I would take it. Why not?"
The trade can no longer be expanded, and a Doncic-Dinwiddie trade would not be legal under the collective bargaining agreement, but Dinwiddie's point is simple: If there's a trade offer that makes the team better, then he'd understand being moved again.
"Sometimes you gotta remove yourself and put on your GM hat," he said. "But there are definitely some trades that I wouldn't make for me, as well."