Spencer Dinwiddie remembers his thought process back in December of 2016 when the Nets called to offer him a deal. He was playing for the Windy City Bulls, with few prospects for a return to the NBA, where truth be told he had not done that well.
“A lot of people don’t make it out of the D-League,” recollected Dinwiddie. “Or, if I don’t sign it, then what if nobody picks me up? Am I still down there? Am I overseas right now?
“It’s very easy to be forgotten about in this league. There’s a lot of good players all over the world that, whatever reason, didn’t hit off right off the bat, and their careers paid the price for it.
“I was told that there was no other opportunity. There was no other option. So, obviously I wanted to be in the NBA. So, I signed.”
Good deal! Particularly for the Nets.
Brooklyn gave him a $100,000 guarantee on a three-year veterans minimum contract, which paid out $726,732 for the rest of the 2016-17 season. The deal was constructed so that the then-23-year-old was on annual tether. He’d get a small guarantee when he made the team, then would be fully guaranteed on January 10, when all NBA deals are guaranteed. The Nets could cut him at any time, with limited financial risk.
Moreover, under the terms of three-year deals, he couldn’t reopen the deal until the second anniversary of the signing —in case, December 8, 2018— and then, any extension couldn’t start until the 2019-20 season. There was also a limit on how much the Nets could pay him, around four years, $44 million.
But as Dinwiddie said, “there was no other option.”
Now, of course, Dinwiddie has become one of the NBA’s top point guards, if measured by real plus/minus, assist-to-turnover ratio or clutch shooting ... your choice. Despite the limits of his team-friendly deal, he remains very grateful to the Nets organization.
“I’m forever indebted to Brooklyn for giving me this opportunity,” Dinwiddie said.
Now, of course, a deal like that is going to attract suitors among the 29 other NBA teams, particularly those who are in need a point guard, teams like, say, the Pistons who drafted him, then traded him, then watched him beat them Sunday afternoon.
Should the Nets trade him? They already have D’Angelo Russell, Caris LeVert and the injured Jeremy Lin on the roster next year. But he’s a bargain for the Nets as well as a team that could acquire him. As Kenny Atkinson has said, the Nets value depth. And let’s face it, he is still improving, still developing. Who knows how good he will turn out to be?
He’s not sweating whether he gets moved, he says. After all, he got beyond the big moment. He got back in the league.
- Spencer Dinwiddie, after facing threat of being forgotten by NBA, flourishing with Nets - Dan Feldman - NBC Sports