Spencer Dinwiddie first signed with the Nets on December 8, 2016. That means Diwiddie will become eligible for a contract extension on Saturday, the two-year anniversary of his initial signing. And that fact hasn’t been lost on him. As Michael Scotto of The Athletic noted last week (via Twitter), Dinwiddie recently issued a lengthy statement to reporters about his contract situation.
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“I’d love to have an extension. I’d love to be here for a long time,” Dinwiddie said. “If I don’t get an extension, I’ll be looking forward to unrestricted free agency and going through the season trying to help the Nets win games as much as possible. Either I’m going to sign an extension or I’m going to be an unrestricted free agent, simple as that. The ball is very much in [GM] Sean Marks and the Nets’ court.
“Everybody knows what my extension number is: Four [years] for $47.5MM,” Dinwiddie continued. “It is well documented. You can’t go above. It’s not like I’m really looking to go below. It is what it is. I’ll find out when you guys find out. We’ll either see something on the ESPN ticker that says ‘Spencer Dinwiddie offered $47.5MM from the Brooklyn Nets,’ and then you guys will know how much money my bank account has at that moment in time.”
As Dinwiddie suggests, contract extensions for players on modest deals like his are limited to a starting salary worth up to 120% of the NBA’s estimated average salary. Based on this season’s numbers, that means that a Dinwiddie extension would start at $10.61MM and would be worth $47.51MM over four years.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski recently said that the Nets have a number in mind for Dinwiddie, which makes it sound as if the club doesn’t plan on putting that maximum amount on the table. But based on the point guard’s candid comments, it sure sounds like he doesn’t have much interest in an extension that pays him less than that full amount ($47.5MM over four years).
Sources told Brian Lewis of The New York Post last week that the 25-year-old, who is in the midst of a career year, could likely command more than that in free agency, so his stance makes sense.
Could Dinwiddie’s asking price come down? Could the Nets relent and offer the full $47.5MM? Anything is possible, but there’s one big reason not to expect the two sides to come to terms on an in-season extension.
The Nets project to have a significant amount of cap room next summer, and extending Dinwiddie would cut into that space substantially. His cap hold as a free agent will only be about $1.6MM, which means Brooklyn could keep that hold on its books, hanging onto Dinwiddie’s Bird rights, then go over the cap to re-sign him after using the rest of its space on other players. That’s exactly what the team did this past offseason with Joe Harris, who was in a similar position. Extending Dinwiddie during the season would increase his projected cap hit from $1.6MM to $10.61MM, cutting into the Nets’ flexibility.
On the other hand, if the Nets don’t make an effort to extend Dinwiddie during the season, it might increase his interest in exploring the market when he becomes a free agent. And since he’ll be unrestricted, Brooklyn wouldn’t necessarily be able to keep him in July.
Plus, even if they were to extend Dinwiddie at the price he wants, the Nets could still create $50MM+ in cap room next summer, and would avoid heading into the offseason with uncertainty surrounding both Dinwiddie and RFA-to-be D’Angelo Russell. Maybe it’d be worth it for the Nets to lock in Dinwiddie at a reasonable rate if they don’t believe they’d have a realistic chance at two max free agents on the open market anyway.
There are no simple or easy answers for the Nets with Dinwiddie, so it will be a situation worth watching starting on December 8.