Brooklyn Nets: Spencer Dinwiddie shows Chicago Bulls what could have been

Brooklyn Nets Spencer Dinwiddie (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Spencer Dinwiddie (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Spencer Dinwiddie ended up with the Brooklyn Nets — and a new three-year, $34.3 million extension — because the Chicago Bulls decided he couldn’t help.

A little more than two years ago, Spencer Dinwiddie‘s second stint with the Chicago Bulls ended after 85 days. The Brooklyn Nets couldn’t have been happier that the Bulls decided the young point guard didn’t fit their plans.

Dinwiddie actually spent a total of 105 with the Bulls, though he never played in a regular season game.

Acquired June 17, 2016, in a trade from the Detroit Pistons, Chicago waived Dinwiddie on July 7, 2016, after just 20 days. After he had a decent showing with the Bulls in Summer League play, the club re-signed him on July 28, 2016.

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But after five games and 75 minutes of preseason action, the ax fell on Dinwiddie on Oct. 21, 2016.

After a short stint with the Windy City Bulls in the NBA Developmental League, Dinwiddie landed as a free agent with the Brooklyn Nets on Dec. 8, 2016, taking the roster spot of Yogi Ferrell, who was waived to make room.

Fast forward two years and Dinwiddie is the proud owner of a new three-year, $34.3 million contract extension and making a strong argument in the race for Sixth Man of the Year honors. And on Wednesday, Dinwiddie got to show the Bulls what they decided they didn’t need.

In 32 minutes off the Brooklyn bench, Dinwiddie scored a game-high 27 points to go with six rebounds, three assists and two steals.

After a gaffe that could have cost the Nets the game, he immediately redeemed himself, first with a game-saving defensive play and then two win-sealing free throws.

Clinging to a one-point lead, the Nets got the ball back with 32.4 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter when Chicago point guard Kris Dunn clipped Brooklyn’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson with a hip check while setting a screen.

Dinwiddie got the ball way out front on the Nets’ next offensive possession and dribbled … and dribbled … and kept dribbling … before launching a long pass to D’Angelo Russell in the far corner. It was too late for Russell to save the possession; the shot clock expired and Chicago had a break.

With 8.4 seconds to go, the Bulls had the ball and a chance to take the lead.

But Dinwiddie atoned for his error on the offensive end by making the play of the game at the defensive end.

Justin Holiday tried to hand the ball off to Dunn above the 3-point break, but Dinwiddie got a hand in and swatted the handoff away. Joe Harris dived on the loose ball, Dinwiddie frantically signaled for a timeout and the Nets got the stoppage of play before Harris could be tied up for a jump ball.

With 1.4 seconds left, Dinwiddie was fouled after receiving the inbounds pass from Harris and knocked down two free throws to ice the win.

The game marked Dinwiddie’s 26th consecutive game off the bench in which he scored at least 10 points and was the seventh time this season he’s scored at least 25 points as a reserve.

Four of those seven games have come during Brooklyn’s current seven-game winning streak, including a career-high 39 points in a win on the road over the Philadelphia 76ers the day before agreeing to the terms for his extension.

So in the span of 48 hours or so, Russell put up 22 points and tied a career-high with 13 assists against the team that traded him away, the Los Angeles Lakers, and Dinwiddie hung 27 on the team that waived him twice in less than three months.

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Time to scan the roster to see if the Indiana Pacers did someone dirty in the past.