Once the trade deadline passed on Thursday, the Lakers quickly pivoted to the buyout market. They wanted a ball-handling guard to take some of the pressure off of D'Aneglo Russell, Austin Reaves and even Lebron James. One target quickly became the prize for all NBA teams looking for such a player: Spencer Dinwiddie.
The Lakers were immediately linked to Dinwiddie after the deadline came and went. Still, with many potential suitors, including his previous team, the Dallas Mavericks, it was far from a foregone conclusion that he would come to Los Angeles.
With some time on his hands awaiting the Raptors to waive him, Dinwiddie decided to visit two places he was considering playing for, first going to the Mavericks-Knicks game in Madison Square Garden on Thursday and then hopping on a plane to Los Angeles to watch the Lakers' matchup versus the Pelicans.
"It was like a five-and-a-half hour flight, and I spent most of that flight talking to my parents who were on the plane with me, one of my friends," Dinwiddie said Monday after practice. "So, we were working through all the different pieces. We were like, okay, if we get there and the vibe seems cool and, obviously, got to talk to D’Lo, I got to talk to Taurean, I got to talk to C-Wood, people that I played with...That felt good."
It was a perfect game to watch if you wanted to see a good version of the Lakers. They put on a historic offensive display, scoring 87 points, the second most in a first half in the team's history, en route to a 139-122 win.
During the game, Dinwiddie sat with vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka, who was the first to call him and had a big impact on his decision.
"I think one of the things that definitely was on my radar was the fact that Rob was the first call," Dinwiddie said. "I think that matters. Obviously, I have history in Dallas. Several other teams inquired as well. But really, those two, looking at the team setup and the ability to possibly come in and make an impact and try to help the team win the championship.
“Being home, a childhood dream come true. There's a lot that goes into that, but really having a chance to help the team win and, like I said, it's just a special place."
When the game ultimately concluded, clips were shared online immediately showing Dinwiddie embracing former teammates D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura. During his post game press conference, Russell all but confirmed Dinwiddie was joining the team.
D’Angelo Russell on Spencer Dinwiddie: “I’m a fan. Y’all will get to know him soon.” pic.twitter.com/uEBMx7Da5K— Michael Corvo (@michaelcorvoNBA) February 10, 2024
Dinwiddie officially signed with the Lakers on Sunday. In an adorable clip shared on Lakers social media, he was shown his new jersey and a matching version for his son.
Welcome to the Lakers family pic.twitter.com/J0PgTizmAz— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 11, 2024
Many players mention how special it is to play for the Lakers or the pressure that comes with performing in a big city that's used to and expects championships, but on Monday, Dinwiddie made one of the most bizarre analogies when discussing the difference between the Lakers and Mavericks, at least for their current iterations.
"The two situations felt like this," Dinwiddie said. "Let's say you were a kid and you got your a-- whoop by a bully. Dallas would've been like your mama being like, 'It's okay baby, don't worry about it.' Lakers are like your dad, 'No, you better go out there and fight till you win.' You feel me? And I just felt like that was what I needed at the time. I'm a big believer in kind of doing what you need to do at whatever time. And so that's how I felt about it."
Can Dinwiddie make a significant enough impact to push the team up the standings and into a deep playoff run?
That remains to be seen, but credit the Lakers for getting their guy and bringing a local talent back home. We won't know if Dinwiddie to L.A. will bring out the version of himself that helped win playoff series for the Mavericks or if they'll get more of the poor 3-point shooting he was known for with the Nets.
But we do know one thing is certain: Dinwiddie and his family are happy he's a Laker.
"For my family it's big time," Dinwiddie said. "Everybody in the house is Lakers fans. Obviously cousins and people from high school, all that. It's the whole nine, right? My mom and dad pretty much cried — well my mom, not my dad — but basically, it was a very emotional moment for them."
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.