The discussion surrounding the future of Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris mostly resides in the category of: what can the Nets get for them? Especially for Harris who is on a cheap, expiring contract ($1.5 million) this season and his trade value is easy to grasp. We hold Dinwiddie a bit more dear and his timeline (having another season left on his contract) is longer than Harris’s.
The flip-side to that previous question though is tougher to figure out: what will it cost the Nets to re-sign either of them? Brian and I attempted to figure that out on a previous episode of The Glue Guys (literally the most listened to Nets podcast in the universe, @BKGlueGuys on twitter, give us 5-stars on iTunes, download, subscribe!). Admittedly this is a wildly speculative exercise but what we tried to do is run it through at least a somewhat common-sense process. We looked at comparable free agents from this past off-season and what they signed for. Things change year-to-year but what Harris and Dinwiddie offer as players are fairly stable commodities that will be valuable on the open market: shooting and ball handling.
For each player we’ll give three options within the range of possibilities. All stats listed in the comps are from the player’s year heading into free agency. So for CJ Miles and everyone else it is the stats from the 2016-17 season. Since Harris and Dinwiddie are ‘new to the scene’ we have to presuppose that they’ll mostly continue to produce at the same level they have been this year.
CURRENT STAT LINE: 10 ppg | 1.4 apg | 3.2 rpg | 46.8% FG | 38.4% 3ptFG | 26 years old
TOP END: Bojan Bogdanovic - 13.7 ppg | 1.4 apg | 3.4 rpg | 44.5% FG | 36.7% 3ptFG | 27 years old heading into FA. Signed a 2 year $21 million deal averaging $10.5 million a year
MIDDLE: CJ Miles - 10.7 ppg | 0.6 apg | 3 rpg | 43.4% FG | 43% 3ptFG | 29 years old heading into FA. Signed a 3 year $25 million deal averaging $8.33 million a year
LOW END: Joe Meeks - 9.1 ppg | 1.3 apg | 2.1 rpg | 40.2% FG | 40.9% 3ptFG | 29 years old heading into FA. Signed a 2 year $7 million deal averaging $3.5 million a year
PREAMBLE: All three of these players had a longer track record of being good shooters, but Harris will be younger than any of them compared to when they hit free agency and when he will this summer. He’s not as good of a 3pt shooter as Miles and Meeks but is a better all-around player, offering a bit more offensively from other parts of the floor than either of them.
There will not be many teams with space this summer, Harris is unlikely to be a priority but again he’s someone who any team would want because of his shooting.
CONCLUSION: 3 year contract, somewhere between $5.5-$7.5 million dollars a year.
If its less dollars, Harris likely signs for a 2 year deal. If its on the higher end, its a 3 year deal. That feels comfortable if you’re a Nets AND Joe Harris fan, right? Not too much money that it would ruin the Nets cap space. In line with a player, who despite his other pleasant skills, is mostly a shooter. There’s going to be a market for Harris, both at the trade deadline and in free agency. The only bargain the Nets are really going to get is if other team’s only view Harris as a shooter only, and they seem him as something maybe a bit more.
The side angle to all of this is that the team is already paying Allen Crabbe crazy crazy crazy amounts of money to essentially do the same thing. AND Nik Stauskus will be cheaper to sign and may offer a higher ceiling. My prediction is if the Nets get a good offer at the deadline to trade Harris, he’s not back. If they hold onto him, he re-signs.
CURRENT STAT LINE: 13.1 ppg | 6.5 apg | 3.3 rpg | 38.8% FG | 33.6% 3ptFG | 24 years old
TOP END: Jrue Holiday - 15.4 ppg | 7.3 apg | 3.9 rpg | 45.4% FG | 35.6% 3ptFG | just turned 27 years old heading into FA. Signed a 5 year $153 million deal averaging $30 million a year
MIDDLE: George Hill - 16.9 ppg | 4.2 apg | 3.4 rpg | 47.7% FG | 40.3% 3ptFG | 31 years old heading into FA. Signed a 3 year $57 million deal averaging $19 million a year (Note: Jeff Teague got the same contract last off-season)
LOW END: Patty Mills - 9.5 ppg | 3.5 apg | 1.8 rpg | 44% FG | 41.4% 3ptFG | 28 years old heading into FA. Signed a 4 year $50 million deal averaging $12.5 million a year
PREAMBLE: OH BABY! You may be looking at those dollar figures right now thinking, ‘Pshhh there’s no way Spencer Dinwiddie will be making an 8-figure salary.’ WELL I’M TELLING YOU! We’re on that path. Yes, Dinwiddie’s shooting has tailed off recently and if that continues, he’s less interesting.
But if I can do pro bono work as Dinwiddie’s agent for a second, what you’re getting in the 2019 Free Agent summer is, by then a 26 year old 6’6” point guard who never turns over the ball, who has already shown he can hit big shots and run a team in the style of offense that is most desired these days aka space and pace.
In terms of his shooting, I think it mostly has to do with the fact that with D’Angelo out, Dinwiddie is the guy on the floor. Since Russell’s injury in November, Dinwiddie is shooting below 30% from 3 when a defender is within 6 feet of him. Any distance over that, he’s shooting 40% from 3. His overall efficiency is going to improve with D’Angelo back on the court, even if his raw totals take a little bit of a hit.
Obviously Patty Mills and Dinwiddie are different types of players. Mills is a 3rd-guard type with a lower ceiling than Dinwiddie. He re-signed with the Spurs, a team that can get their players to sign for less money than market value, AND HE’S STILL MAKING $12.5 MILLION A YEAR! So we are already in the territory (and I Freudian-gly wrote terroritory when I first typed that word) where Dinwiddie’s low is coming in around $13 mil a year.
Obligatory Warning: As stated above, this discussion assumes Dinwiddie will maintain his current level of performance. And if we’re being honest (I always try to be) he’s probably going to get even better while playing under Kenny Atkinson because every point guard does who Atkinson coaches #Culture
Let’s move onto that middle tier where we find George Hill and Jeff Teague. Both have a long history of being competent-to-good PGs in the NBA, though pretty much every team that has had them has wanted to move on from them after a couple of seasons. Teague’s career averages line up (13 pgg 6 apg on 44% FG/37% 3ptFG) with what Dinwiddie is doing this year, but Spencer beats him in length/defense/versatility. Hill matches up with Dinwiddie on that side of the floor, is a more efficient scorer, but is way behind Dinwiddie in terms of creating for his teammates. And age, Teague was 29 years old when he signed this most recent contract, Hill was 31, Dinwiddie will be 26.
Before we get to the conclusion, lets ride that rocket ship into Jrue Holiday territory. Holiday was a special case where basically the Pelicans had to overpay to keep him because of his Bird Rights, if they didn’t re-sign him, they would not have been able to sign anyone else at that level. Still, Holiday and Dinwiddie’s stats are nearly identical. Their age at free agency time are only a year a part. Holiday has had the benefit of playing with Anthony Davis, meaning it should’ve been easier for him to attain those stats than it is for Dinwiddie. And Holiday has been injury prone. But again, he was a special case because of the Pelicans cap situation.
CONCLUSION: 4 year contract averaging between $18-$20 million dollars a year!
Put yourself in the mindset that Dinwiddie will continue to be his turnover-averse, dishing, driving, versatile, big-shot-making self throughout the rest of this season and all of next season. Wouldn’t you rather have that type of player than Jeff Teague or George Hill? Also in 2019, teams should have more room to make a deal because a lot of big contracts come off the books that were signed when the cap spiked in 2016.
Here’s a list of players that make between $17-$20 million a year right now, going from low to high: Kent Bazemore, Evan Fournier, Evan Turner, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Wes Matthews, Allen Crabbe, Jeff Teague, Ryan Anderson, George Hill. Sure, I cherry-picked the Not So Good Ones but that’s 9 players who teams decided deserved that type of money and you could argue Dinwiddie is as good if not better than most of them.
Because of all of this, and as much as it pains me to type this, I think the Nets will trade Dinwiddie if they get really good value for him. Right now, we’re fretting over how the Nets will handle bringing D’Angelo back into the lineup; is Atkinson going to push Dinwiddie off-ball, will it push Caris LeVert from his backup point guard role. That same ball-handling-minutes crunch will play out off the court in the summer of 2019. As Dinwiddie is entering free agency, Russell will be up for an extension. LeVert comes up the following year.
Without digging too deep in what D’Angelo might get in a next contract, it doesn’t make much sense for the Nets to pay Dinwiddie, D’Angelo, Still-Cashing-Checks-Allen-Crabbe something like 60 million dollars combined. It could make sense to pay them both if suddenly once D’Angelo comes back and they make magic together in the back court.
Sean Marks has stated his goal is to develop players and re-sign them, building a sustainable long-term culture like he had in San Antonio. But the Spurs have been able to sign role players on a discount, while paying max money for generational talents like Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard. The Nets situation is different. There isn’t a Duncan or Leonard on the current roster. Dinwiddie has trade value partly because he’s just about the best value in basketball in terms of contract and on-court production. That will change in 2019 and while that is still a season and a half away, a decision has to be made sooner rather than later whether Marks and the Nets think it is worth keeping both D’Angelo and Dinwiddie as their core pieces into the next half-decade.