The Brooklyn Nets weren’t expected to be huge players in free agency given how much of their cap space will be locked up in Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden, but they still had to answer questions regarding Blake Griffin and Spencer Dinwiddie when open season began.
After all, both of these formerly-essential Nets were on the market.
Griffin looked completely dead in the water in Detroit, but when the Pistons bought him out, he emerged as a solid small ball center who was starting for the Nets by the time the playoffs came around.
As effective as Dinwiddie has been in his career, he was limited to just three games last year due to a torn ACL, changing the calculus on his contributions for this contender entirely.
Dinwiddie was expected to sign elsewhere this offseason, as the type of money that he was asking for showed that he believed himself to be a franchise point guard in this league. Luckily for him, someone met his asking price.
Dinwiddie, per Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, is nearing a deal with the Washington Wizards. The former second-rounder will get $60 million over three years, as he will try to replace Russell Westbrook alongside Bradley Beal, Rui Hachimura, and Washington’s young core.
Griffin, on the other hand, chose to return to New York, signing another one-year deal to remain with the Nets.
Losing a player like Dinwiddie might sting, especially considering that he was yet another contributor that ended up developing from an afterthought into a star under Brooklyn’s watch, but this was an inevitability given the current state of the Nets.
The Brooklyn Nets had to retain Blake Griffin and lose Spencer Dinwiddie.
Dinwiddie’s $20 million per year valuation is too much for the Nets to handle, as there is no path that could lead to him starting next year. Signing with Washington also gives the Nets the chance to get some assets back in a sign-and-trade, which is much better than losing him for nothing.
While the exact package remains unknown, players like Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Thomas Bryant could all be on the move. If the Nets can net a couple of them in exchange for Dinwiddie, that would be a nice bit of business from Sean Marks.
Griffin, on the other hand, proved himself to be a quality big that can secure rebounds, make key passes out of the post, finish off dunks inside, and space the floor thanks to some solid 3-point shooting. This combination of skills is desperately needed on Brooklyn’s squad at the moment.
The Nets already saw Jeff Green go to Denver, while losing an ideal replacement in Otto Porter thanks to Golden State. Failing to offload DeAndre Jordan’s contract during the proceedings hurt, too. While Day’Ron Sharpe and Nicolas Claxton are two extremely promising prospects, the Nets needed someone with Griffin’s experience for when the playoffs come around.
The Nets don’t need backcourt scoring at such a premium price with Irving and Harden in the fold. Low-cost backups like trade acquisition Jevon Carter and first-round pick Cameron Thomas are the way to go, and that philosophy helped Dinwiddie secure the bag with Washington.
The Nets saw Dinwiddie develop from a discarded second-round pick who had to make his name in the G League into a legitimate 20-per-game scorer and contributor on a playoff team. Losing him means yet another remnant of the early days of Marks’ tenure is flaking away.
However, it wasn’t practical from a financial point of view to keep him, and finding a way to keep Griffin while getting some quality assets back from the Wizards in exchange for Dinwiddie shows that Marks is still capable of thinking on his feet in free agency.