Typically, when an NBA player is asked about his upcoming free agency, he’ll respond in general platitudes rather than speaking openly about how he expects the process to play out. However, appearing on The Crossover with Howard Beck of SI.com (video link) after turning down his 2021/22 player option, Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie didn’t hesitate to get into specifics about his free agency.
“For all the fans that think because I opted out I have to leave or something like that, no, this is very much in the Nets’ hands, you feel me?” Dinwiddie said, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “I think my full max is like five (years), $196 (million) or something like that. And nobody’s sitting here saying I’m going to get five, $196MM — so before anybody tries to kill me, nobody’s saying that.
“But the Nets have the ability to do something that other people can’t. If the Nets come to the table like that, and they’re being aggressive and are saying, ‘Hey we got five, $125MM for you,’ I would say there’s a high likelihood that I go back to the Nets, you know what I mean? But if they don’t come to the table (like that), and they’re like ‘Oh, we’re going to give you a three for $60MM,’ well, anybody can do that.”
As Dinwiddie alludes to, the Nets hold his full Bird rights, giving them the ability to offer a fifth year and annual raises of 8%. Rival suitors would be limited to four years and 5% raises, and would need to either sign Dinwiddie using cap room or work out a sign-and-trade to give him a salary in his desired range. No such restrictions face Brooklyn.
Still, the Nets are heavily invested in their three superstars (Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden), two of whom are guards, meaning they may be reluctant to set themselves up for a massive luxury tax bill by signing Dinwiddie to a lucrative new contract.
For what it’s worth, the five-year, $125MM figure Dinwiddie throws out in his conversation with Beck seems overly optimistic on the 28-year-old’s part, particularly since he’s coming off a partial ACL tear that sidelined him for nearly the entire season. As NetsDaily observes, if Dinwiddie can land a four-year contract in the range of the ones signed by point guards Malcolm Brogdon and Fred VanVleet in recent years ($85MM), he’d be doing very well.
The Heat, Knicks, and Bulls are among the teams that will be on the hunt for a point guard this offseason and have the ability to open up cap space, so they could be among the teams competing with Brooklyn for Dinwiddie’s services. Kristian Winfield of The New York Daily News says the Mavericks are also expected to express interest in the veteran guard.
Dinwiddie reportedly wouldn’t mind playing in his hometown of Los Angeles, but the Clippers and Lakers will have limited cap flexibility.