As expected, the onus will largely fall on Sean Marks here. Dinwiddie’s deed is as good as done.
In an in-depth interview with Forbes this week, published conveniently ahead of a Brooklyn Nets playoff run that is likely to proceed without him, Dinwiddie spoke about his ACL recovery and what the future holds for his burgeoning career.
He remained extremely in character when he dismissed the notion of opting into an additional year with the Nets after facing an uncertain recovery. Instead, he’ll bet on himself and test the open market — but what did you expect from a player who’s attempted to sell shares in his own career, drawing the ire of the NBA?
Brooklyn Nets star Spencer Dinwiddie will opt out after 2020-21.
We’ll break down in a second what seems to be a strange clash of ideologies developing between Dinwiddie and Steve Nash, which has left us wondering if there’s some form of resentment bubbling below the surface.
First, though, here’s how plainly Dinwiddie put it to Forbes when asked about his forthcoming contract decision:
"“I’m gonna be more than healthy by the time free agency starts, so just from a dollars perspective you kind of have to,” Dinwiddie said. “$12 million isn’t market value for a starting point guard. It’s probably about half, 20-25. So obviously it’s pretty concrete that I’m gonna opt out.”“If Brooklyn wants to use my Bird Rights and sign me, I’d be thankful to be back and be able to go and try to win, hopefully, a 2nd championship,” he said, referring to the Nets’ ability to go over the salary cap to re-sign him. “And if not, then as an unrestricted free agent you can kinda choose where you wanna go. It’s an interesting situation to be in.”"
The onus is on Marks in this scenario, but while most of this lip service was predictable, it does seem noteworthy that (of course) Dinwiddie is the type of player who knows his worth. And, in the same vein as betting on himself, he seems entirely disinterested in providing a hometown discount or worrying about whether his complex injury history will dampen his market.
If the Brooklyn Nets are interested in a reunion, great! But they’d better pay top dollar.
Onto the next examination, though: is there resentment bubbling up between Marks and Nash and Dinwiddie’s camp as his extended rehab continues on the other side of the country?
All Dinwiddie’s spoken about in recent weeks is his desire to set a record for the “fastest ACL recovery” of all time. All Nash and Marks have done is downplay his potential impact moving forward this season.
They’ve both emphasized the same talking points throughout the process as well, citing an appreciation for Dinwiddie’s unique will power while also downplaying his ability to contribute this year.
Dinwiddie, speaking to Forbes, reiterated that he understood why he wasn’t dealt at the deadline, feeling teams were attempting to lowball the Nets for an injured version of a soon-to-be-healthy player. He also praised Marks for how communicative he was throughout the process.
He didn’t mince words, though, when asked about his potential return, and also admitted that his plan probably differs with what the team would like him to be saying publicly:
"“I know Brooklyn and Sean definitely wouldn’t want me giving out anything official,” he said.But unofficially?“I want to return for the playoffs.”"
Nash thinks a Dinwiddie return would be among the strangest things to have happened in recent years. Marks praised his guard’s tenacity, but remained extremely vague in his assessment, saying the team will have to “evaluate” things if a clean bill of health emerged.
Candidly, it sounds like it would be very meaningful for one party to return, which hasn’t been prioritized by the other party. Add the salary gulf and Dinwiddie’s myriad non-basketball interests, and it seems as if he might be inclined to remain on the west coast — if the opportunity arose.