Brooklyn Nets: Starting clock on Spencer Dinwiddie extension

Brooklyn Nets Spencer Dinwiddie. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Spencer Dinwiddie. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /
Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn Nets Spencer Dinwiddie. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (you might have heard) is now eligible to sign a contract extension, but is an extension the best deal for Nets?

The date has been hanging out there for awhile now, but it’s here: Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie is now eligible to sign an extension with the club, having reached the anniversary date of his Dec. 8, 2016, signing with the team.

And the numbers are defined: Dinwiddie is eligible for up to four years and $47.5 million, with salaries of $10.61 million for next season, $11.45 million in 2020-21, $12.3 million in 2012-22 and $13.15 million in 2022-23.

That is the most he can get on an extension.

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But here’s the thing. Dinwiddie has said he would like an extension, but is it in the best interest of the team to offer one? In exchange for the surety of keeping Dinwiddie — who would no doubt be an attractive target — off the unrestricted free agent market, the Nets would:

  • Take $10.61 million away from the cap space general manager Sean Marks has so carefully accumulated for next summer.
  • Limit Brooklyn’s ability to participate in the free agent market.
  • Limit Dinwiddie’s earning ability.

That last item might be the key to making a bigger deal with Dinwiddie palatable for the former second-round pick and NBA D League refugee.

Because the Nets will have full Bird rights on Dinwiddie next July, they would not be limited to four years and $47.5 million.

They could go to a fifth year, for more money and use Bird rights to re-sign Dinwiddie after making their other deals — similar to what they did with Joe Harris, for whom the Nets only had early Bird rights, last summer.

But that is with the assumption Dinwiddie would be willing to wait well into July to put his Spencer Dinwiddie (because putting his John Hancock there would make little sense since, well, his name is not, in fact, John Hancock) on the bottom line.

There’s a lot to like about Dinwiddie. He’s probably the fastest player on the roster and is their best at beating his man off the dribble. He’s a deft passer and his defense has improved this season.

But there is a lot to be cautious about with Dinwiddie as well.

His unfailing belief in his ability to beat anyone in the NBA off the bounce leads to him getting locked into isolation mode far too often, which demolishes the flow of the offense and leads to Dinwiddie trying to go one-on-two (or three, sometimes four, occasionally five).

Sometimes, Dinwiddie can get so involved chirping at the officials (because he’s seldom missed a shot on which he didn’t think he was fouled) that he’s slow to get back on defense. Defensively, he still tends to play more with his hands than his feet and can get into foul problems as a result.

The dangers of letting Dinwiddie become an unrestricted free agent are clear — a point-guard needy team such as the Phoenix Suns or Orlando Magic could make him a Godfather offer that the Nets have no ability to match.

However, a Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors points out, the Nets could extend Dinwiddie at the max level and still create more than $50 million in cap space for next summer.

They could do that by renouncing their rights to pending restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell and committing to Dinwiddie as their guy at the point. Russell’s cap hold for next summer is $21.06 million, per Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights.

Renouncing Russell would make him an unrestricted free agent and eliminate Brooklyn’s ability to match any offers the former No. 2 overall pick might get.

He is also a complicated case because, like Dinwiddie, there are parts of his game that are very enticing, but he remains maddeningly inconsistent.

In any event, though Dinwiddie could conceivably sign an extension as soon as Saturday, the Nets have until June 30 to get an extension done. There is some time pressure, but not nearly as much as the eligibility date of Saturday might imply.

It’s much more likely that this will be a drawn-out process, with an extension not a certainty by any stretch. Instead, it will be one of those situations to monitor, much like the other six expiring contracts on the Nets salary cap sheet.

Besides Dinwiddie, DeMarre Carroll, Kenneth Faried, Jared Dudley and Ed Davis are pending unrestricted free agents on July 1. Along with Russell, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson‘s rookie deal will expire, making him a restricted free agent, as well.

It’s also worth noting that Allen Crabbe has a player option for $18.5 million next season that, based on his play this season, he is almost certain to exercise, because he would not command near that on the open market while he’s shooting in the sub-33 percent range.

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Lots of uncertainty in the weeks and months ahead as the rebuild continues.