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How big of a bargain is Spencer Dinwiddie? VERY big

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Brooklyn Nets Media Day Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Raptors Coach Dwane Casey gave a resounding endorsement of Spencer Dinwiddie last week when asked about the Nets guard’s impressive second half scoring outburst on last Monday.

“I tell you what. I said this earlier: That’s the best bargain in this league,” Casey said. “That young man has really improved his game. Like I tell young players all the time, he’s taking advantage of an opportunity.”

Indeed he has ... and indeed, Dinwiddie’s contract may very well be the best in the game, other than (maybe) some kids on rookie deals. Dinwiddie is in the middle of a three-year, partially guaranteed, veterans’ minimum contract, one that won’t be pay him more than $1.66 million a year. Each one of those phrases —”three year;” “partially guaranteed;” and “veterans minimum” are music to a GM’s ears.

And, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the contract has another advantage for the Nets. It will be in force —no re-negotiation— until the end of the 2018-19 season. No matter how well he does, not matter what he accomplishes, the CBA rules do not permit it. His contract can be extended once it’s done, but even negotiations on an extension can’t take place until next December.

“He is not eligible to have his contract renegotiated because he only signed a three- year-contract,” Marks, the Nets assistant GM under Rod Thorn and Billy King, told NetsDaily. If it had been a longer deal, it could have been reopened but even then not until the third anniversary of his signing.

With a three-year deal, notes Marks, he’ll have an opportunity to extend his deal beyond next season, but there are limitations on how much the Nets can give him.

“Dinwiddie, starting December 8, 2018, the second anniversary of his signing, is eligible to have his contract extended for a total of four years (not including 2018-19),” noted Marks in an email. But the Nets would be limited to paying him 120 percent above the average player salary, starting in 2019-20.

“This is similar to the Norman Powell and Josh Richardson extensions,” Marks noted, referring to the deals those two players signed with Raptors and Heat, respectively. “Starting salary would be $9.8 million and the total would be four years and $44 million” ... based on current projections of average salary.”

How’d the Nets get such a bargain?

Dinwiddie was signed out of the G-League on December 18, 2016. Under terms of the deal, the first year called for him to be fully guaranteed a few weeks later on January 10 when all partials become fully guaranteed. Then, this season and next, he was guaranteed $250,000 if he made Opening Day roster, then only fully guaranteed again on January 10.

The team got flexibility and Dinwiddie, security — something important to a player who had already been traded by Detroit ... then cut unceremoniously by Chicago two months earlier.

Of course, it’s worked out better than expected for Brooklyn and Sean Marks (no relation). They have a top-notch talent worth at least what Powell and Richardson got last summer, around $10 million each. Dinwiddie, who recently left the agent who negotiated that deal, is getting noticed and his bargaining position, even if delayed, will be strong. He’ll be only 26 in the summer of 2019.

Although the two sides can open extension talks next December, Bobby Marks thinks it would be smarter for both to wait until the summer.

“The smart thing to do between Sean and the Dinwiddie camp is to bypass extension talks with an understanding that there is a new contract in July 2019,” said the Nets former capologist. “He has such a low cap hold ($1.6 million) for 2019, that an extension would see the Nets lose close $8 million in room.”

The Nets will have a lot of decisions to make in the summer of 2019, assuming there aren’t wholesale changes to the roster. Jeremy Lin will be an unrestricted free agent if, as expected, he opts into the last year of his three-year deal. D’Angelo Russell, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and possibly Jahlil Okafor will be off their rookie deals and eligible for restricted free agency.