Inside DiVincenzo's unique perspective at NBA trade deadline


PORTLAND, Ore. -- Donte DiVincenzo is in his fifth NBA season and first with the Warriors, but his experience with the business of being traded is second to none.

He has felt the pressure of rumors, and admittedly let them get to his head last season around the trade deadline. DiVincenzo has been dealt once before, and as close to twice as one can be. 

Let us explain.

In November of 2020, the Milwaukee Bucks landed guard Jrue Holiday in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans. Holiday and DiVincenzo have similar skill sets, so he figured his days with the Bucks had come to an end. That looked to be true. 

Later that same day, the Bucks appeared to have added guard Bogdan Bogdanović in a sign-and-trade with the Sacramento Kings. The return to Sacramento was supposed to be DiVincenzo, D.J. Wilson and Ersan Ilyasova in exchange for Bogdanović and 2019 second-round pick Justin James. 

But the trade never finalized for a number of reasons. DiVincenzo stayed with the Bucks, became their starting shooting guard and Milwaukee won it all that season as he nursed an ankle injury that knocked him out of the playoffs and required surgery. Bogdanović eventually signed with the Atlanta Hawks. 

"It's kind of a unique, because I got traded two different times," DiVincenzo said to NBC Sports Bay Area on Wednesday at Warriors shoot-around, 24 hours before Thursday's trade deadline. "But the first time it was kind of unexpected. I thought once we traded for Jrue Holiday, I thought everything was done.


"So I was kind of blindsided by that one."

As fate would have it, DiVincenzo's road eventually did lead to Sacramento. The Kings landed DiVincenzo at the deadline last year on Feb. 10 as part of a four-team deal between the Bucks, Kings, Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Clippers.

This time, he prepared himself to expect a move. That was easier said than done, though. The tweets, the stories and the rumor mill swirling with his name got to DiVincenzo. It's a human side of the game that affects everyone differently. 

DiVincenzo was coming off surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left ankle, wasn't the same explosive player upon his return and was set to hit free agency for the first time. He missed the first 34 games of the season, tweaked his injury three games into completing his comeback and was averaging 7.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 17 games while shooting 33.1 percent from the field and 28.4 percent on 3-point attempts. 

"Last year, my thought process was different," DiVincenzo said. "I was like, 'I'm expecting this because of what happened in the past.' And I was worried because I wasn't playing my best basketball at all.

"And it was messing with me mentally." 

Now, he strays as far away from the scene as possible. DiVincenzo hasn't tweeted once this season. If talks about trade gossip come up, he'd rather leave the room. Even though DiVincenzo is virtually a lock to not be moved this year, he doesn't want any part of those discussions -- zero. 

He admits he had no idea that Kyrie Irving was traded from the Brooklyn Nets to the Dallas Mavericks, and found out from somebody else a day late that the Kings acquired Kessler Edwards from the Nets. The blockbuster move that sent Russell Westbrook to the Utah Jazz, D'Angelo Russell to the Los Angeles Lakers and Mike Conley to the Minnesota Timberwolves happened during his warmups and he's sure to mute those conversations the best he can.

It's also his message to his Warriors teammates ahead of the deadline. 

Tune it out. Focus on what you can control, not what you can't. There's no good in listening to the outside noise. 

To DiVincenzo, that message should be heard equally by players young and older alike.

"That's my knowledge to give to some of the young guys on the team that are hearing all the rumors and everything," DiVincenzo said. "Even veteran guys, you just never know.

"So to just tell these young guys, 'Listen, don't worry about anything. You get a call, you get a call. But don't let it mess with your process getting ready before the game and performing on the court.' At the end of the day, what you can control is what you do in those 48 minutes. 

"Everything else, the business aspect of it takes care of itself." 

RELATED: DiVincenzo praises GP2, ends comparison to former Warrior

The 26-year-old is a young veteran. He doesn't have a decade-plus of experience in the league, but he already has won a championship, has dealt with the highs and lows of the NBA, as well as the business side of it. DiVincenzo fits like a glove in Golden State's locker room, and is close with players at different parts of their career. 

One of his closest relationships is with 20-year-old Jonathan Kuminga. The former top draft pick is filled with star potential and has found an ever-important role in his second season with the Warriors. He also is one of a handful of young players who have been tied to trade rumors. 

His message to Kuminga is simply to keep doing what he has been doing in his work ethic and only caring about what's best for the team. That kind of mindset has earned Kuminga more trust with coach Steve Kerr. DiVincenzo fully believes Kuminga has listened to him and blocked everything out to the best of his abilities. 

It takes going through the experience of being on the move, or close to it, at least once to fully grasp what's going on. For as much as people want athletes to be machines and have their minds solely on the hardwood, that isn't human nature. DiVincenzo knows that firsthand, and finds himself having a unique perspective on a team that still is led by Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, three players who have spent more than a decade in one place. 

"I can say it, because I went through it," DiVincenzo said. "This is just an example: Draymond has never left this team. Klay's never left this team. Steph's never left this team. So, they have no idea what it's like. I offer a unique perspective as somebody who has gone through it, that went through it in a season. 

"Some guys have been traded in the offseason, that's way different. The season is the real stuff, and for me it's just about looking out for these young guys. Just let them know, keep hooping and everything else will take care of itself." 

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