Brooklyn Nets

2020 NBA return: Wizards' Bradley Beal, Nets' Spencer Dinwiddie won't play in Disney World

2020 NBA return: Wizards' Bradley Beal, Nets' Spencer Dinwiddie won't play in Disney World

Less than a week after Pacers guard Victor Oladipo opted out of playing at Disney World, Wizards guard Bradley Beal and Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie will also sit out.

The two-time All-Star Beal has been dealing with a right rotator cuff injury and like Oladipo — who is still recovering from a gruesome quad injury suffered last year — has decided that rehabbing for the 2020-21 season is more important than heading to Disney. Beal’s teammate Davis Bertans, who will be a free agent in line for a big payday, has also decided to opt out.

The Wizards faced an uphill battle to qualify for the playoffs, even with Beal and Bertans. They trail the Magic by 5 ½ games for the eighth seed. While they needed to only get within four games to compete in a play-in tournament with Orlando, they only had eight seeding games to do so. Whoever captures the eighth seed will likely have to play the NBA-best Bucks in the first round.

Dinwiddie has been dealing with fairly severe symptoms of COVID-19 that he's been documenting on his Twitter page. The 27-year-old was hoping to get back on the court Tuesday, but Brooklyn's team doctors have decided to have Dinwiddie sit out the restart "out of an abundance of caution," per Shams Charania of The Athletic.

His teammate DeAndre Jordan also tested positive for coronavirus and opted out a little over a week ago. The Nets currently sit at seventh in the East.

For the Sixers, it means one of their opponents in the seeding games will be woefully shorthanded. They’re set to play Washington on Aug. 5. Beal averaged 31 points in two games against the Sixers this season. Bertans hit seven threes against the Sixers in a win in D.C. but struggled in a loss at Wells Fargo Center.

The Sixers finished their slate against the Nets season. Dinwiddie, who always seems to give the Sixers trouble, averaged 23.5 points in four games against them in 2019-20.

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Spencer Dinwiddie wants fans to decide his next team ... if they raise $24.6 million

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Spencer Dinwiddie wants fans to decide his next team ... if they raise $24.6 million

Spencer Dinwiddie is under contract with the Nets through the 2020-21 season. After that, he wants his fate to be up to the fans. They just have to raise about $24.6 million for him first.

The Nets guard set up a GoFundMe page Friday night with a lofty target of $24,632,630. If that goal is reached, he says fans will decide the next team he plays for. If it’s not, Dinwiddie says he’ll donate whatever money was raised to charity. 

Here’s his explanation: 

I’m simply creating this GoFundMe as my commitment to my previous tweets. As of now 2625.8 BTC is roughly equivalent to $24,632,630 USD. If we hit the target then I will allow the fan base to determine my next team decision and sign a one-year contract at that destination. If we do not hit the target goal then I will be donating 100% of this campaign to charity. Fan engagement comes in all shapes and sizes, let’s have fun folks! 

Unless you’re very familiar with Dinwiddie, the motivation behind this fundraiser probably requires a little explanation. He’d planned to sell tokens in his three-year, $34.3 million contract extension with Brooklyn through his blockchain investment platform, DREAM Fan Shares. The main idea, as he explained to The Athletic’s Shams Charania last September, was for fans to be able to invest in him and then have the third season of his contract — his player option year — be a “stock year” for investors. 

“Establishing an asset class that is not correlated to the legacy markets and stocks that are going to get hammered when everything comes to fruition, it can help people save money and create a real fantasy sport,” Dinwiddie told Charania. “It enhances the real fan engagement. It enhances the NBA.”

The NBA clashed with Dinwiddie over the plan, but he eventually launched a modified version on Jan. 13

All of the above is to say that Dinwiddie is highly passionate and knowledgeable about Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and blockchain. If he does raise over $24 million, his recent history would suggest he’ll face some resistance from the NBA. It’s also not clear exactly how the fan base would determine his next destination. Would he go with the group of fans who raised the most money? Do a poll? 

The 27-year-old Dinwiddie has improved in each of his four seasons with the Nets and has averaged 20.6 points and 6.8 assists this year. He’s had a few big games against the Sixers, including a then-career-high 39 points on Dec. 12, 2018. 

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The start of Sixers-Nets Game 5 didn't make sense as you were watching it

The start of Sixers-Nets Game 5 didn't make sense as you were watching it

As NBC Sports Philadelphia prepares to re-air it tonight (7 p.m.), we look back on Game 5 of Sixers-Nets at Wells Fargo Center on April 23, 2019.

Joel Embiid had 10 points, Jimmy Butler had four and the Brooklyn Nets had zero.

When you’re watching a game, you’ll often have small notes — tidbits for future reference, interesting matchups or schemes, impressions in the moment. 

For Game 5 of the first-round playoff series between the Sixers and Nets last year, you kept returning to the score. 14-0. 25-3. 30-6. They’re the kind of numbers that don’t make sense, especially in a playoff elimination game, so you write them down hoping that will somehow help. The Sixers led by 29 points after two quarters, their largest playoff halftime lead ever.  

Looking back, there were logical explanations. The Sixers had won Game 3 without Embiid on the strength of big performances from Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris. They then took a Game 4 that was about as dramatic and intense as a first-round playoff game can be. Brooklyn was vulnerable, the Sixers’ defense was locked in and Embiid was coming off an incredible performance. 

“We had talked about how a team’s mindset down 3-1,” JJ Redick said, “if you can take their heart early, you might have a chance to put them away, deliver the knockout punch, all the boxing analogies I can come up with.

“I have some dark analogies, but I shared those with the team. I don’t want to share them with you guys, but they’re dark. But yeah, you gotta put people away.”

The game was over very early, with no Sixer playing more than 27 minutes and Embiid only needing to spend 20 on his troublesome left knee. There was a lot of time to consider what was next, and to wonder what the Sixers could accomplish if they put it all together consistently — though that reflection was interrupted with less than two minutes left by an altercation that resulted in ejections for Jonah Bolden, Greg Monroe, Rodions Kurucs and Dzanan Musa. 

The Sixers had been on a search for identity and continuity that sometimes felt futile since trading in February for Tobias Harris, Mike Scott and Boban Marjanovic. Their first-choice starting five only played 10 regular-season games together. With the sample size so small, any time they had together felt worthy of deep analysis. Was Simmons having enough of an offensive impact in the “dunker spot?” How was the Butler-Embiid pick-and-roll coming along? Where did Harris fit in?

In the first quarter of Game 5, there wasn’t an opportunity to ask any of those questions. The defense was physical, focused and discouraging, and the lead kept growing and growing. We may sometimes overrate body language in pro sports, looking for signs of weakness that don’t exist, but the Nets just didn’t have the confidence they’d maintained through most of the series. D’Angelo Russell was tossing up contested jumpers because he knew it might be the best shot available that possession against Simmons, not because he believed he would make them. Russell ended up shooting 3 for 16 in the game, 35.9 percent in the series. 

Everyone understood the second round against the Raptors would be more of a challenge. Toronto had won 58 regular-season games and four straight to clinch their first-round series against the Magic, Marc Gasol was a tougher matchup for Embiid than Jarrett Allen or the Nets’ zone defense, and Kawhi Leonard was waiting. 

Those were concerns for another day. That night, the Sixers were pleased to be moving on and aware of just how well they’d opened the game, but not overjoyed. 

“I thought the start to this game was impactful, was powerful for us,” Harris said. “When we talk about imposing our will, that was a sound example of that.”

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