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Expect Spencer Dinwiddie to get a big payday, but where?

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Memphis Grizzlies v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

As Forbes writer Jeff Siegel notes near the end of his story on the complicated nature of the Nets upcoming negotiations with Spencer Dinwiddie, “There are a lot of factors that go into this decision on both sides.”

Siegel touches on most if not all of them in his story, but the key point is this: Sometime around the turn of the year, the Nets will have to decide whether to give Dinwiddie up to $47.5 million over four years ... or open trade talks.

The decision is an outgrowth of a contract Dinwiddie signed on December 8, 2016 when the Nets were desperate, with a capital D, for point guard help. Jeremy Lin was down with a hamstring, Greivis Vasquez was done after three games with a career-ending ankle injury and rookie Isaiah Whitehead was struggling.

As Siegel notes, Dinwiddie has little leverage when he signed. A torn ACL in last year at Colorado consigned him to the second round of the Draft, then after bouncing back and forth between Detroit and the D-League, he was traded to Chicago who ultimately waived him and sent him to the Windy City Bulls in October 2016.

After the Nets called him up and got him to sign the deal, Dinwiddie developed and developed and developed. His contract looked more like theft than a bargain. It was so one-sided that until a few weeks ago, it wasn’t just a league minimum deal. It was non-guaranteed until January. The Nets, in a good will gesture, altered the terms and made it fully guaranteed. Dinwiddie called it a “blessing.”

Now, it will be up to him to perform and show that he’s worthy the same kind of deal two other solid NBA players, Josh Richardson and Robert Covington, signed last season.

As Siegel notes, the first two months of the season will be critical for Dinwiddie, “giving the Nets almost two months to assess his fit with Russell and their long-term plans surrounding that pairing. Should Russell show them significant progress toward his ultimate potential, Dinwiddie might find himself closer to the trade block than a building block of the next great Nets team.”

Of course, the $47.5 million max is just that, the max. He and the Nets could settle for less, but after if he builds on last season’s performance, his market value will almost certainly be that higher or higher. After all, he ranked first among starting NBA point guards in assist-to-turnover rate as well as first among all players in number of 30-foot shots made. And he’s only 25.

There’s the further complication of whether the Nets would be willing to give a significant fraction of their cap space hoard prior to free agency. Calculating the ultimate amount of that hoard is dependent on Dinwiddie’s $1.6 million cap hold, Siegel notes.

“Any extension would erase that cap hold and replace it with his actual salary, which could be north of $10 million, effectively evaporating about $9 million in available cap space,” he writes.

Like he said, it’s complicated.