The Nets’ marriage with Kyrie Irving is over.
They’ve kicked him to the curb, and gotten back with their ex.
Brooklyn traded Irving to Dallas on Sunday for a package centered around Spencer Dinwiddie, a longtime Nets fan favorite. They also got Dorian Finney-Smith and draft picks, while creating trade exceptions.
“When @ShamsCharania says it’s time to go you pack your bags. Plus Elijah said he wanted to go back home,” Dinwiddie tweeted, adding emojis of a smiling face and hands in thankful prayer.
Elijah is his son, born at the end of Dinwiddie’s second season in Brooklyn. He spent five years with the Nets, arriving in 2016 along with Joe Harris and they became two player development success stories.
Dinwiddie emerged as a player and even helped recruit Irving. But with injuries limiting the latter to just 20 games in 2019-20, Dinwiddie averaged a career-high 20.6 points that season.
It essentially proved to be his last in Brooklyn — until now that is.
Dinwiddie’s unfortunate torn ACL just three games into 2020-21 indirectly led to the Nets going big-name hunting, trading for James Harden. Dinwiddie got moved to Washington in a huge five-team swap, and has spent the last season-and-a-half in Dallas as Luka Doncic’s running mate.
Currently Dinwiddie is averaging 17.7 points and 5.3 assists in a borderline All-star campaign. His shooting splits are a solid .455/.405/.821, and now the 6-foot-6 guard slots back into the Nets’ starting backcourt alongside the currently injured Ben Simmons to give them a pair of long-armed disruptors.
Dinwiddie is earning $20.2 million this season and $21.0 million next year.
Dorian Finney-Smith is a 6-foot-7, 220-pounder who is averaging 9.1 points, 4.76 rebounds and can play either forward spot. He has spent his entire career in Dallas, and is in the first season of a four-year, $55 million deal. He can be moved again, but only in a one-on-one deal.
Finney-Smith has a 15 percent trade kicker, according to former Nets assistant general manager Bobby Marks, now an ESPN Insider.
The Nets, who exhausted draft assets in that deal for Harden, will receive an unprotected 2029 first-round selection and 2027 and 2029 second-rounders. They will also create $5 million and $1.8 million trade exceptions — as well as $28 million in luxury-tax savings.
It was a fairly solid pivot by Nets general manager Sean Marks, considering the Nets were going to be over the salary cap even if Irving had walked away this summer in free agency, as he had vowed to do. They would have had no means to replace him, but now got back a starter they are familiar with and another useful rotation player as well as picks.
The Nets host the Clippers on Monday, but with Irving not expected to take his physical until that day in Dallas according to ESPN, Dinwiddie and Finney-Smith might be hard-pressed to debut before Tuesday against Phoenix.